As of September of this year, I have lived in Virginia/DC metro area longer consecutively than I have lived anywhere else - 8 years (and some months) and counting. At the time, I left my family of origin (two parents and a brother and sister) and struck out on my own. Since then, I've acquired a husband and a dog (and Blake would like to add the two late betta fish). I've also acquired in-laws - a mother, father, two sisters, one brother, and each of them have spouses of their own, and there are also two nieces.
Basically, my family went from five people to mostly just me and then to two, plus all the siblings, parents, and dogs. (And fish. And some hamsters. All dearly departed.) I actually have a lot of immediate family now, and thanks to modern technology, I don't feel as separated from them as I could. I don't get to talk to each of them every day, but we text, Skype, call, and Facebook each other regularly. I miss the family I don't live near, but I still feel that we are involved in each other's lives.
Could we talk even more regularly? Of course. But we do what we can. Recently, Blake and I played Pandemic with his brother and his brother's wife via Skype. We each set up our boards and ran them simultaneously. It's a collaborative game, and it ended up being a lot of fun.
Ultimately, I want to be a great wife, but I also want to be a great daughter, sister, and friend. I hope I am, because I really love the great big family of which I am a part.
(Since these photos have been taken - the week of my wedding, we have a new brother in each family, the baby has a little sister, and Logan has left us.)