After writing about family in my last post, I realized that I didn't make much mention of a group of really close friends I term "second family". I, like many of you, have had friends and parents of friends with whom I've spent so much time that they have become like family to me.
For example, when I was in the third grade I played YMCA basketball. A school friend of mine, Jared, was on the team, and his dad, John, was one of our coaches. Though I knew Jared at school, our increased interaction on the basketball team helped galvanize our friendship. John often gave me a ride home after practice. In the years between the 3rd and 12th grades, Jared and I became nearly inseparable, like brothers except we didn't fight. Jared's mom, Jeanette was like a second mother, and Jared's brother, Chris, like another brother. Many of my fondest memories growing up involved spending time with Jared and his family.
In high school, I met a girl, Shannon, and we became good friends. I came to know her parents, Heather and Kelly, and siblings, and because we spent a lot of time together, they also became as family to me. Shannon's grandma, Gloria, practically adopted me as a grandchild, treating me as one of her own. Furthermore, I became good friends with a number of Shannon's cousins. One of them, Trevor, was my freshman dormitory roommate. I have many great memories of time spent with Shannon's immediate and extended family.
After my mission, I missed the islands and their people. I found out that my next-door neighbor, Josh K., was a Hawaiian. He and I quickly became fast friends. He came home with me for various holidays and was adopted into my immediate and extended families. I went to Hawaii for his wedding and was adopted into his. Thus I have a third set of 'second parents' in Momma and Poppa K. and additional siblings, Adam and Leilani, Josh and Julie, Karyn, and Sean.
My buddy and former roommate, Dave, is more of a brother than merely a buddy or roommate. He is generosity personified. If he were a lot older, I'd almost believe that the Polynesians could have learned their traditions of generosity and hospitality from him. I don't know that I've ever met a more caring individual than Dave. He too has come home with me for holidays, and, like Josh K., he was adopted by my family as an honorary member.
With Dave comes Rick. Before Rick married Janae and I married Deb, and before Rick moved back east, the three of us used to cruise around together all the time. Road trips, sporting events, movies, and more found us having a good time like three long lost brothers.
One friend, Steve, introduced me and my wife. When he came to our wedding, we returned the favor by introducing him to my wife's older sister. We will be celebrating their wedding in just over a week. Thus, of all my close friends who are more like family to me, Steve will be the only one thus far to become literally family.
Lastly, I can't finish before mentioning my Samoan families. I became close with Korama and Ufiata and their children during my mission, and since I came home Soli and Suvi and their children have drawn me into their fold.
I hope I haven't forgotten anyone. Suffice it to say, my life has been profoundly affected by the members of my second family. They, alongside my biological family, have enriched and blessed my life in ways that I couldn't begin to enumerate. Such is the stuff life is made of; such is the stuff that makes life good.