Family is a word you often hear following “my.” For many, family is personal, sentimental, affectionate, supportive and sometimes dysfunctional. The family I share checks all the boxes except personal. By definition, “personal” is “belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else.” Thus, I would like to introduce you to my family:
Covenant United Church of Christ (CUCC) in South Holland, Illinois: the church family. I began my journey with my brothers and sisters in Christ in 2012. Here we are, 11 years later, and I still find myself anxious and eager to sit in the pew each Sunday, volunteer at the food pantry on Saturdays and hear the word delivered by our very own Rev. Patrick Daymond. From the warm embrace received each time I step into the house of the Lord to the small check-ins while I am away at school, my CUCC family never fails to remind me that they are rooting for me. CUCC, you are the family that others can never replicate. Despite the many changes we as a church undergo, you are a family I could never stop loving.
Hampton University: our home by the sea. In August of 2021, you welcomed me with open arms; I was receptive with cheerful spirits. After a few months, I considered submitting my application for the matching process of finding a new institution; it seemed you were not who you presented yourself to be. Then I realized my Hampton family deserves a chance. You all took a chance on me as I took a chance on you. During Spring 2022, I felt the familial spirit I was missing. As I enter my third year with you, I know nothing but good is in store. These past years you have pushed me beyond my comfort zone, welcomed me in spaces where I questioned my belonging, reminded me how talented I am and showed me how outstanding of a family you could be.
The Kinfolk (Bogan, Booth and Hall): the family that I had no choice but to opt into once conceived. The family that I physically resemble. Kinfolk is one dynamic group of people. We have shared moments of falling apart like crafts pieced together without glue, but over time come together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. I make memories with you that I will forever cherish. You all encourage me to become the best version of myself every day. This family instilled confidence in me that one cannot knock, a heart that is rich in gold and an ever-evolving strength. You are my why and will always be. Each of you has contributed to the woman I am today, so I thank you and love you with the sincerest gratitude.
I am a part of several different shared families and each has had a significant, long-lasting effect on me. So, the next time you ask me about family, do not be shocked if I ask, “Which one?”
Mia Booth is a third-year English major, journalism minor at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. With aspirations to become a novelist, she plans to obtain her MFA in creative writing and to establish a foundation that supports underserved students with educational resources.