The Overdue Apology My Family Deserves

The Overdue Apology That My Family Deserves Because I Always Forget To Call Home

They're a phone call away, and most times I can't even find time for that.

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I have an older sister, so I never had to wonder what going off to college looked like. No, I didn't get to fully experience it with her (seeing as how she was two and a half hours away at UNCW), but I got enough of a glimpse into her life that I understood everything that came along with going off to college. That said, even having an older sibling go through different stages of life before you never fully prepares you for what comes next.

When I went to college, I was overwhelmed by everything thrown at me. It wasn't the first time I'd worked, been a full-time student, and had extracurricular activities on top of that, but everyone expected my very best every second of every day. That was new for me. Not that in high school I hadn't wanted to be that way (I was a low key perfectionist in that regard), but there was never the pressure like there was in college.

So as time went on and I got lost in the whirlwind of classes, work, and campus organizations, the past 18 years of my life growing up in small-town North Carolina got pushed to the back burner.

I'm sure there are some people judging me insanely hard at this point, saying, "how could you possibly forget your family?" Well, don't worry, I never forgot them, I just seemingly forgot that there was this nifty technology called cell phones and that with a simple press of a button it would call home. What that means is that there would be long periods of time when I wouldn't talk to my family.

Never once did I forget them, or love them any less, I just failed to prioritize giving them a call with all of my new found freedom and responsibilities.

Sophomore year of college, I told myself I was going to be better and call my parents more often. Notice, I never gave myself a set amount of times to call every week. Same as with any terribly, unspecific goal I've ever made I failed to live up to it, but this time around it was even worse because I started getting more involved and my time was spread thinner. Thus making the already limited phone calls dwindle even further.

This pattern continued on as my parents would complain and beg me to call them more often, but I still failed to make it a priority. Maybe it was because I knew I would never live up to my older sister, who called every single night on her way home from work, or maybe I did get lost in all that I'd committed myself to. Either way isn't an excuse, and I knew that. I just never found it in me to change the habit.

Well, that was until this semester. I don't know what changed between fall semester junior year and now, but now I'm the one calling my parents countless times a week to complain or talk to them about my life. By no means am I perfect in calling, and sometimes our conversations don't last more than a couple of minutes, but for once I've taken the initiative to carve out time in my day to remind my parents that I haven't forgotten them and I do love them.

So to my family, I'm sorry it took me nearly three years to wise up and realize that, no matter how busy I am, I always have time to call home. I'm sorry I got caught up in the life I built for myself in Chapel Hill and occasionally forget about the place I called home for 18 years. I'm sorry if I ever made you feel as if I don't love you because that is so far from the truth.

Please know that I can't promise you that I'm going to call home every single night, but I can promise you I will be better and call more often. I love you all so much and am beyond thankful for the support and encouragement you never fail to give.

To all the freshman, and the seniors who are graduating in May then heading off to college, I don't care how busy you think you are or what all you're involved with, never forget to call home. I don't care if it is a minute long conversation about what you ate for breakfast that morning, call home because your parents deserve that much. They understand you're busy and have a life at school, but they care for you and love you. Show them the same respect.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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My Family And I Are Separated Due To ​The Political Tensions In Venezuela

With my family struggling in Venezuela and my nuclear family separated, this time is especially challenging.

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In December, my parents, sister, and I had the chance to visit the family from both my mom and my dad's sides. A brutal economic war in Venezuela ensured we wouldn't go to our homeland; instead, we'd go Chile, where many members of our family had fled with hopes of more stability and security. Chile is a second-world country, meaning it's developing and has many elements of both capitalist and socialist policy that give the people their opportunities unavailable to them in more strict regimes. Still though, its no America, not by a long shot.

After two weeks in Chile visiting family that have all been separated by nasty political conditions, I learned what it was like to have my relatives close. Although I don't remember meeting many of them when I was only a few years old, there was a feeling that they cared for me; a familial pull of solidarity. By the end, I found myself angry that I hadn't met them before. My dad's brothers were gentle and hilarious, effortlessly cracking off joke after joke. I had no remembrance of them, but they all remembered me from when I was a toddler.

The love I felt for my uncles and cousins disappointed me because I was angry that the chance to grow up alongside them was stripped from me. I was blown away at how I had a dormant connection to these people that hadn't been explored or cultivated in my entire life. We had nothing in common except blood, but that was all we needed.

I thought about all the friends I wouldn't need if I had these members of my family close. When friends betray you and relationships fizzle out, cousins become my siblings and uncles become my dads. Their ways of thinking seem to run parallel to my own, despite our differences in education level and a minor language barrier.

My uncles are just old enough that they're advice is valuable, but young enough that I can still identify with them. My 2-year-old cousin is a little brat; a cute, spoiled monster of a child. Her mom adorns her with gentle bows in her hair, making her ghastly attitude imperceptible to the passerby. A few moments around her though, and the holes in my uncle's young parenting become apparent: ugly tantrums are common with her. We learned to ignore her micro-manipulations.

As my birthday draws near, I'm faced with the painful reality I won't see them any time soon. My parents' good-natured humor and pure intentions are missed in this college journey of mistakes and experimentation. The comfort of having these people admire and care about me is invaluable, and I hope that those that have family close by can appreciate that privilege.

One thing I can be grateful for, I suppose, is the emotional resilience that I'm forced to callous into my personality. Missing them becomes a background to my life. Although I'm surrounded by beautiful people in this university, I wonder what it would be like to have my family members around too.

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