For the eleventh February in a row, you cuddle on the sofa with your mom, your little brother, and your dad to watch Groundhog Day, the comedy about a man forced to relive a single day over and over. The movie is a family tradition. Your mom tickles your arm as you laugh at Bill Murray stuffing a whole donut into his mouth. Your dad jumps up to make a batch of popcorn, which you will all eat out of the giant wooden bowl your parents got as a wedding gift. Ah, family.
But not everyone’s experience of home is like this. Today, in 2019, nearly 3 million adolescents in America are living in homes without their parents. Some live with relatives or friends. Others spend time in the government’s foster care system.
What is it like to live without your parents? These three teens share their stories and explain what family has come to mean to them.