For reasons I'll probably never understand, we didn't spend much time with my extended family - aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. - growing up. It probably had something to do with my dad, but it doesn't matter now.
On the flip side, I've always been blessed with great friends. Awesome, awesome friends. I can't say enough about how much they all mean to me. Them and their families.
Maybe because I wasn't close with my own family, I became close with the families of two of my friends and with my in-laws. They buy me birthday presents. I bring dishes to their family gatherings. All the stuff real families do.
Over the past few years, in addition to my fake family and in-laws, I've started to really get to know my own family. My aunts and cousins - and I like 'em! A lot! I'm happy to say that I don't just keep in touch with them because they are family, I do it because they are my friends, too.
The bottom line is blood or not, I'm surrounded by a boatload of people I care about and who - I'm pretty sure - care about me. And that's a wonderful feeling.