As I have mentioned many times, I believe strongly in Ohana... family meaning that no-one gets left behind or forgotten.
The world has changed so much. We went from villages raising children, to nuclear families where we lived in our very small mum, dad, and 2.4 children pods, to something new. "Blended" families.
My own experiences growing up were that I had my parents, my sister, and grandparents.
There are cousins out there that I love dearly, but there has never been that close bond. We see each other at weddings and funerals, and exchange Christmas cards (well, in my case, messages on Facebook as I learnt years ago that I suck at posting anything).
As I get older, I suck more and more at visiting my dad, not through lack of love but through generally me sucking at actually organising plans. I have lovingly chosen Father's Day presents sat here that I still haven't got over there because life got in the way at the time, and since then I just spiral from one thing to the next.
I then met the children's father. A similar situation, although he had been close to his cousins growing up, in adult life it was the odd visit back home, weddings, funerals. Seeing his parents was about the closest.
So all was fairly standard for me. We split up, but his parents are still (to me anyway) part of my family as they are my children's grandparents.
Then I met Furball and the world sort of exploded.
There's my own little unit, and then there is his. There are cousins and siblings, aunts and uncles everywhere. You don't just go for a meal with parents, you go for a meal with faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamily and take up a restaurant. It has been incredibly overwhelming, and has taken me a very long time to settle into.
They're awesome and I love them, but it has only been the past year or so that I have made the leap from them being friends, to me properly seeing them as my family. The children made the change very very easily. Their friends became their cousins, they have this whole pile of new family. For me, I think the major moment where I realised I had shifted my view was when Aahana was born. For the pregnancy it had been that "Adam's sister" was having a baby. Aahana was born and I suddenly realised that no, she wasn't just his niece, she was mine too!