When I hear folks talking about having kids, I often hear them declaring their desire for a child of their same sex; the men want boys they can bond with, women want a girl they can share their childhood routines and playthings with. This is clearly not a truth entirely across the board, but as a child I always wanted a girl because I was sure I would connect with her more than I ever could with a boy. Having two younger brothers of significant age difference challenged this feeling, as they’re as dear to me and on the same wavelength most of the time more than one would think a gal in her late 20s could possibly have with boys 10 and 17 years her junior.

Growing up a tomboy with an equal passion for the traditionally feminine things, I found my best friend in my stepdad. We met when I was 8, and I knew he was a partner for life when I discovered Mr Bubbles in the bathroom, a vintage crayola alarm clock on the nightstand, and a comic book collection to rival the comic shop itself. We built model rockets together, his focus on loading them with high-powered engines coupled perfectly with my fascination for painting them with precision and launching them high into the sky. He shared his passion for music with me, and before I knew it I was copying his music onto my own tapes so I could load my Walkman with The Cure without having to borrow from his immaculate collection. His VHS collection of 80s movies changed my perception for life, and my top movie spots will never lose the likes of Rocky Horror Picture Show and Hackers.

As I grew older and my immediate interests changed (Abercrombie & Fitch, may you stay away forever), my dad has always remained deep in my inner me. Clutter-free workspaces, simple decor, and decluttering so you can always be one the move (just in case) … his mantras have become my best possible version of “I’m becoming my parents.” He’s more quiet now, often in the background when I go home (because who can’t be, surrounded by a teen & a LEGO-crazed 10yo), but he shares a wisdom and support that is unmatched in my life, when I need it the most.

I’m grateful to have a wealth of great relationships; my mom is my best friend, filling an incredibly different, but equally important place in my world. Cherish those moments you have with the special people in your life, and bend over backwards when you can repay the favor. The thought that I wouldn’t need my parents after I moved out of the house is laughable now, and I’m so grateful it wasn’t true.