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I believe that family is what you make it,

be it relatives or friends, or spouses.

The blood of the covenant is stronger

than the blood of the womb; my daughter told me that,

as I wept and hurt from a mother’s cruel words.

I kept going back for more-I know, it’s absurd.

We never imagine, as we grow, that family members

we once held so dear would become like strangers.

Parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings who were

part of the very fabric of our childhood-estranged,

deranged monsters or fantasists who would destroy you,

given half a chance. Choose your family, and love them.

It’s okay to be different, to grow into yourself

and become the person you want to be.

You’ve only got this life-no dress rehearsal.

Sing a song, run a marathon, see the world;

share your dreams with those who care-

keep envy and malice away from all you hold dear.

Be careful who you allow to see your heart;

the wolf comes in many guises, full of surprises.

He’s ready to rob you of all that he can

and then leave without a backward glance.

When you speak, measure your words,

and think of things that are good and true.

Looking back at what has passed-don’t be bitter,

use the lessons to do better next time,

and share what you’ve learned with humility.

Help your loved ones navigate this world in a way

that builds up others, but protects their hearts.

Help them leave a beautiful, indelible mark.

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