To My cousins

A Thank You To The Cousins Who Are So Much More Than Just Relatives

You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family

Srinidhi Vangala

To my crazy bunch of cousins,

Let me start off by saying I love you. I couldn't imagine my life without you, and I never want toNothing 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.

We celebrated many milestones together and were as close as close could be. We have pictures of us starting from small little girls and guys to when we are all in middle and high school kind of going through the struggles together.

I always looked forward to seeing you guys for any occasion, whether it be a holiday, a birthday party, walks around the neighborhood, or even a sleepover at our houses. We had so much fun together and you taught me how to socialize and use my imagination.

The games we played are still ingrained in my memory like it was yesterday; jumping from couch to couch because the floor was lava, the hours of endless Monopoly, and hide and seek. We have so many inside jokes sometimes that even we can't remember them and if we did we would end up dying of laughter for a solid 4 hours. What's best is that we all live in basically the same area so it's so easy to see everyone and every time we do hang out, it's nothing less than a new adventure.

I promise to still make the effort to stay in touch, and to travel the distance whenever I can. I will continue to stay as involved in your lives and embarrass you in front of your friends as much as possible. I'll be at your wedding, and you'll be invited to mine, and that my kids will be as close to yours as we were when we were kids.

We've loved and lost together, and no matter what road life takes us on, we'll end up together at some point. Only we know how crazy our family truly is.

Thank you for being the best friends I could ever ask for, and for sharing years of wonderful memories with me. Words cannot express how much I value you; we balance each other well. And although our interests and career pathways may have changed over the years, we often reminisce of those hilarious moments from when we were young no matter where we sit.

To my oldest cousin, thank you for being a role model for not just me but everyone else. You are about to go to college and words cannot describe how much I'm going to miss you. You have been someone I can rant to about anything and everything and you've taught me so many things in the past years.

And to my younger cousins who are still developing into amazing people; you are the lights of my life. You all hold so much potential and I promise to be one of your biggest supporters through your toughest times. 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.

I sound like the crazy old lady who tries to be cool, but I promise my advice will come in handy one day.

Your little spurts of laughter, funny nicknames, innocence, and kind hearts help remind me what it's like to be young again, and I strive to be a good role model for you. I promise to give you funny memories to look back on just like my older cousins did with me.

They say, "you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family." I love you guys!

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