To The Cousins Who Are So Much More Than Cousins

For The Cousins In Your Life Who Are SO Much More Than Relatives

I couldn't imagine life without my insane, but loving, cousins.

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To my cousins,

Let me start off by saying I love you. I couldn't imagine my life without you, and I never want to. I can remember the day most of you were born, I remember holding you for the first time. You are the sisters I never had and the extra little brother I always secretly wanted. I find that all my favorite childhood memories include all of us, together during Christmas time. I remember all of us running around and eating all the food before the party even started, and I remember all of us getting sick because we ate so much.

In my mind, you are more than just cousins. You are my right hand, my shoulder to cry on, my ride or die. I remember talking about my first breakup with all of you, I was genuinely scared for that boy's life. So, to the next boy that breaks my heart, all I have to say is good luck. Thank you for being there for me when I need you the most and thank you for letting me be there for you. Thank you for standing by my side, even when I was wrong; and just know that I will always stand by you.

Nothing makes me happier than when we are all together. You make family functions fun, even when they should probably be serious. You always know how to make someone laugh, and none of you ever fail to light up the room. Even when I am mad at you, you always find a way to make me smile. Thank you for telling me the truth, even when it hurts. I know I am not perfect, yet somehow you always see the best in me.

Because of you, I can take the mistakes I make and turn them into advice for you. Knowing that you look up to me makes me want to be the best person I can be, and just know that even though you are younger I also look up to all of you.

Thank you for wanting me. We might be forced to be family, but we chose to be friends. From when you were only an hour away to now when you are over 300 miles away, we have managed to not only stay close but somehow we have become closer. The love we have for each other is so much more than just 'family' love, it is a love we chose to have. It's the trust and respect we have for each other that keeps us so close when we are so far away.

Thank you for being so much more than just my cousins, thank you for being the people I trust the most, thank you for being my best friends.

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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10 Things That Happened When God Gave Me A Little Cousin

Because they're not just family, they're a blessing.

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I lost my Grandma when I was ten years old. She was the woman I looked up to and as I continue to grow up without her, the more I admire her strength. After losing someone so dear to my heart, it felt like a piece of my world had gone missing. A year later, God blessed me with a little cousin, Emma. Here we are seven years later, and she is exactly what I needed after losing my grandma.

1. I felt like I finally had another "sibling"

The day Emma was born, I immediately took the role of "big sister" and not just because we both only have brothers. Yes, I take it upon myself to paint her toes and go shopping with her simply because that's what we do best.

2. I began to spoil her

From the minute she was born, I couldn't help but go through the baby aisle at Target and grab the cutest new outfit for her. Even now, her big and sweet brown eyes always convince me to buy her that unicorn bath bomb or get her a shirt she spies at the store. Of course, every dollar is worth her big smile.

3. I found my best friend

I could talk with Emma all day long. Listening to her chatter about school or her new toys makes me smile from ear to ear. I could tell her anything and I know she would try her best to understand everything even if it's over her head. I see her as much as I can and miss her like crazy if it's been too long. Yes, she takes up 90% of my camera roll and there's nothing better.

4. I knew what pure joy felt like

I'm not sure the first time I realized it, but in the past seven years I have had multiple "Kodak moments" where my heart feels completely full. Maybe it's her laugh when I tell her a joke or the way we share fun memories together. Whatever it is, I'm a lot happier because of Emma.

5. I started to smile more

Nothing makes me smile more than seeing Emma after a long hard day. Hearing her laugh, going on adventures together, and having countless sleepovers is always the highlight of my day/week.

6. I became more selfless

Emma has taught me that sometimes you should play dolls with her even if you don't want to. You do the right thing even if it isn't the easiest and always think about others before yourself. There has been times when I'm crying and she will immediately stop what she's doing to come sit next to me and hold my hand.

7. I learned that she is who I want to be when I grow up

Even though I'm older than my sweet little Emma, I definitely look up to her. You don't meet very many completely selfless seven-year-olds. I'm lucky enough to know one. Emma would do anything for anyone, she always sees the best in things and is full of faith. She's smart, funny, and extremely outgoing - everything I desire to be more of.

8. I changed the way I looked at the world

Kids often show us that life can be a lot simpler and a whole lot less complicated than we make of it. Emma's innocence has shown me that sometimes I just need to take a deep breath and simplify everything I can.

9. I learned a lot about my faith

You've probably heard about the "faith of a child" and having Emma around certainly has made an impact on my faith. She memorizes Bible verses left and right and loves singing hymns. Seeing such a young heart that is full with God's love is truly inspiring. She is a constant reminder that God is certainly good.

10. She became a reason I needed live

When God blessed my life with Emma, He definitely knew I needed her more than she needed me. Struggling with depression makes life challenging, but she always happens to be a cure when I need it. Once I was at an extremely low time and contemplating suicide when someone reminded me that Emma loves me. Emma needs me around. The thought of her never understanding why I died absolutely struck me. Even on the toughest days, a FaceTime call to Emma or simply browsing through pictures of her brings a smile to my face.

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