In a particularly indulgent moment of self-absorption last week, I was lamenting not having a sister. I wasn’t wishing for a sister instead of my own blood brother of course; he is a light of my life. I was simply wishing for what, I can only imagine, it might be like to have one. I have always surmised a certain blissful, biological, built-from-birth bond that – no matter the closeness factor – must feel safe. Solid. Formidable, even.

I’m not sure what exactly sparked the pity party, but it may have been my maturing realization that many of the women in my life have sisters of their own. Somehow and somewhat senselessly, that thought made me sad. You know the feeling, don’t you? It was the awful sense of “missing” something you know you’ll never have.

I couldn’t help but think about what I was missing in those hardwired connections that sisters always seem to share. What wasn’t I getting from those inherently supportive, hereditary relationships that brought so many women their first female friends, confidantes, and partners in crime?

“Every girl should have a sister,” I once read on a highway billboard depicting two rosy-cheeked blonde toddlers cupping each other’s faces. I don’t remember what the sign was advertising, but nevertheless, I tended to agree with the sentiment.

As is common with my fidgety brain: I forgot about the futile sister-wish almost instantly. And as is common in the Universe: When I left that thought behind, something wonderful occurred to me in its place…

So while Valentine’s Day of years past have been about romantic love (or the glaring reminder of a lack thereof), I have to apologize to my sweet husband in advance. Because this year I want to celebrate the kind of love that doesn’t get a Hallmark Holiday.

Happy Galentine’s Day:

To my badass girlfriends. I love you because you care for me in spite of not being related to me – which actually seems super-human when I really think about it. I choose you and you choose me, everyday and all the time. You remember things about my life you aren’t obligated to remember. You have put me first when it wasn’t your job to prioritize me at all.

To my sisters-in-law. I love you because you gave me a certain place in your life even though you already had each other. It feels indescribably delightful to have a permanent visitor’s pass to your club.

To my female relatives. Who would I be without you? I love you because you helped to shape my identity, my history, and my home. You were my perfect introduction to unconditional love. You are the sisterhood I got instead.

To the mean girls I mistook as friends. I don’t love you but I get why I needed you. You forced this perpetual nice girl to grow a back bone. You taught me to roll my eyes, which (if I’m being honest) I have always loved doing. You taught me to say the things I really meant, instead of the things I thought you’d like to hear.

To the women who have fed my soul in a delicious merger of sister-friend. You make my heart soar and help me breathe. You have shown me loyalty, strength, and the kind of fierceness I will spend my life striving to emulate. You have mentored me and supported me. You have celebrated my wins and softened my losses. You have shown me the mirror when I needed to take a good, hard look into one. (Sometimes for runny mascara, sometimes for an emotional kick in the rear.)

To the ladies I have yet to meet. I love you because you give me something to look forward to. We need reasons to want to get older. Thanks for that.

I think the thing about life is that we can lament what we don’t have, or we can do ourselves a favor and just stop doing that. What we have is enough if we make it enough.

To the sisters I wasn’t born with, you are more than enough.

And in so many ways, not being born with a sister… helped me find you.