Having been a child of divorce, my family expanded rapidly at a very young age. By the time I was seven, I went from having one sister and two parents, to having five sisters, and four parents. Although at that early age I didn't know how blessed I was, as I've grown older, I've learned how lucky I really am. I rarely use the word "step" anymore, when referring to my sisters or parents, but rather just identify them as members of my family. I feel as though inserting "step" creates some sort of divide, when it really isn't necessary. They are simply members of my family.
I've also learned that family isn't just what you are born into. My sense of family expands to include some of my very good friends, their siblings, parents or children, and partners. If I were able to draw out a "family tree" it would actually be an entire forest, with some trees growing to embrace others, and others that just stand tall, nearby, but still under the same great canopy.
My sense of family has changed drastically over the last few years. The people I once referred to as stepmom, stepdad, step sisters, brother in law, best friend, best friend's in law, therapy bitch, friend's daughter, etc., have simply merged into "my family." Besides having to clarify for someone exactly how they are part of "my family", there is no need for me to refer to them as anything but family. And I am so grateful to have all of them in my life.