This past weekend I went home for my cousin’s wedding. I spent Friday at the rehearsal dinner, Saturday at the wedding, and Sunday at the post-wedding brunch. It’s safe to say that I am completely exhausted, bummed I have to head back up to school for a day and a half before returning for Thanksgiving, and just all around beat. It has been a long, hectic few days, but, it has also been some of the most fun days I have had in a long time.

Being with my family, I feel so incredibly lucky. So lucky to have such amazing people in my life, as a support system, as friends, and as a place of unconditional love. I know that some people are not as lucky to have a family like mine, so close and so full of love. If I have learned just one thing in my 19 years of life it is this:

Family is everything. Family will be there for you in the good times and the bad, the ups and the downs, and everything in between. Taking for granted your family is the worst thing you could possibly do, because one day they won’t all be there anymore.

I grew up in a big family, a family where Sunday night family get-togethers were prominent, and it was rarer to not see an extended family member than to see them. It wasn’t until coming to college that I really began to realize how lucky I am to have the relationships with my family that I do. So many people I have met don’t know most of their cousins, or don’t really see much of their aunts, uncles, grandparents, or cousins very much, and that makes me sad.

I will never be able to express my gratitude, love, and appreciation enough to my family members. Each and every one of them individually has made my life better, even if it was just by making me laugh, supporting a decision I made, or just hanging out together.

My family is and will always be my world. I will always put them first above anything and anyone else, no matter what. Every moment with them is something that I will always cherish and never take for granted because again, you never know what could happen and one day they will be gone. But for now, just being able to live in the moment with them is all I need.