I Have A Big Family And Our Meetings May Be Few, But The Memories Are Great

I Have A Big Family And Our Meetings May Be Few, But The Memories Are Great

As it gets harder to get together, we appreciate the events when all the family can come into town to visit.

Family. Everyone has their stories, everyone has their opinions about certain people. Big or small, good or bad, they will always be family.

My family is complicatedly big. It starts with four, then fifteen, then forty plus people not including significant others brought to events over time. And that's just one side of the family. It's always a joke that you need to check each other's family tree before you even think about marriage!

When you're young, you really don't appreciate family much, especially when they are so much older than you. They do their own things separate from you until you're old enough. Even then, they treat you like you are the baby. But, they have a reason to.

I am one of the youngest in my family. When I was younger, I would follow my two older cousins around and mimic them. I'm talking word-for-word, copy-cat style. I have no memory of this happening but when I get together with them, they will never let me live it down. As I got older, they would continue to bring it up. And now having S.O.s coming over for all the cousins, it's always a competition to bring up the most embarrassing moments.

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As we grow up and it's harder to get together, we appreciate the events when all the family can come into town to visit. Because when you do bring everyone together, you may talk to an uncle that started a new job and gets you interested in it too, talk to a cousin who is starting a new business, or you may meet a S.O. that will eventually turn into a fiance and you see their life starting together. You may hardly know them now, but at the end of the day, you will know that your relative is lucky to have someone like them.

At the end of the day, it's always bittersweet.

You have to part ways with the people you love, whether you know much about them, they will always have your back and will love you. It may be different the next time you see them. Someone moves to a different state because of a job, they are married, or they have a little one running around. Each time will be different you see them because it will years later before you see them again. But however long that will be, it'll always make for a good time

Big families make you love a little harder because not only are you not sure how they are related to you, they still are and family loves you for whoever you are. They make you enjoy the time you have together and you make some great memories together.

I just saw about half of my extended family a couple weeks ago. I met someone who is going to be a part of the family in about a year. I am excited to see someone added to this big family I have, but I will get to see the other family members at their wedding. Family is always and forever. Until next time, fam.

Cover Image Credit: Beth Hellmann Pellock

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Dear Mom, Now That I'm Older

A letter to the woman who made me the woman I am today.

Dear Mom,

Now that I'm older, I definitely appreciate you a lot more than I did as a kid. I appreciate the little things, from the random text messages to constantly tagging me on Facebook in your "funny" photos and sending me pins of stuff I like on Pinterest. Now that I'm older, I can look back and realize that everything I am is all because of you. You've made me strong but realize it's okay to cry. You've shown me how a mother gives everything to her children to give them a better life than she had, even when she's left with nothing. And, most importantly you've taught me to never give up and without this, I would not be where I am today.

Mom, now that I'm older, I realize that you're the best friend I'm ever going to have. You cheer me on when I try new things and support me in deciding to be whatever person I want to be. Thank you for never telling me I can't do something and helping me figure out ways to be the best woman I can be. Your love for me is unconditional. They say true, unconditional love can only come from God, but mom, I think you're a pretty close second.

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Now that I'm older, I don't get to see you as much. But not seeing you as much just makes the times I do get to see you the absolute best, and I look forward to it every time. Now that I'm older, I'm not going to live at home. But, I promise to always come back because I know the door is always open. Your house is always going to be my home, and no other place is going to be the same.

Now that I'm older, I realize how much I miss you taking care of me. I miss you making me dinner, making sure I was doing well in school, and taking me to endless appointments. I miss you waking me up for school and then waking me up again because I didn't listen the first time.

But, Mom, now that I'm older, I can see all that you've done for me. I can look back and see how big of a brat I was but you still loved me (and let me live) anyways. I can understand why you did certain things and frankly, you're one bada** of a woman.

To have you as my mom and my best friend has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. So, Mom, now that I'm older, thank you, for everything.


Your Daughter

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A Letter To My Cousins Who Are More Like Siblings​

Thank you for being the brothers I never had.


Dear cousins,

I love y'all so much. Thank you for being the brothers I never had. You guys have been there for me since day one, and I will be forever grateful. No matter what, I consider you guys my best friends and brothers all in one. I know that no matter how old we get, the bond we share will never be broken.

Thank you for the countless laughs and memories over the last 18 years. From staying up all night playing MarioKart to crafting a new plan each year on how we were going to catch Santa, to laughing until we cry watching our family attempt to bowl on the Kinect every Christmas, the fun has never stopped. I value those times so much. Every holiday, or weekend I spend at your house, I look forward to, and I love creating more memories with you.

To my younger cousin, thank you for being my "ride or die", as our parents have nicknamed it. You never fail to make me smile or laugh when I need it the most. Anytime I need someone to ride with me to the mall or grocery store, you always volunteer in seconds to come along. I remember when I first started driving and you told me I couldn't park, but we've come a long way! I feel like a proud sister, watching you grow up and become such a wonderful person. I hope you enjoy your teenage years, it's going to go by fast.

To my older cousin, my "big bro", I can't believe we are both in college now. Even though you are finishing your college career and I am just starting mine, I am so grateful for all the help and advice you have given me throughout this process. It feels like yesterday we were just kids, playing Playstation all day until we couldn't keep our eyes open. I can't wait to see what you do next in your career, I know it's going to be great.

Yes, I'm an only child, but nowhere does it say that your cousins can't be considered your brothers. You guys love and protect me as if I was your own sister, and the love I have for you both is indescribable. I can't wait to spend this upcoming holiday season with you guys and make even more wonderful memories.

Love always,

Your Cousin, aka "Sister"

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