Family Matters: Yesterday, Today And Always

Family Matters: Yesterday, Today And Always

How college has taught me that family has your back no matter what.

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Friends and boyfriends will always come and go, but family is forever. My family has always been close, but I never truly valued their unconditional love until I moved four hours away from home.

Being the youngest sibling has more benefits than I realized.

I was raised in a family with three siblings and while I love each one dearly, there is a huge age gap between us. There are 15 years between my brother and me, and 9 and 10 years between my two sisters and I.

Needless to say, I spent most of my life feeling overshadowed as they approached milestones within their lives while I approached puberty. As my brother graduated with a master's degree, I was deciding on what colleges to apply to. As my sister prepared for her wedding, I had yet to graduate high school let alone think about marriage.

We have each always been at different stages in our lives and I felt as though this prevented a close-knit relationship at several points in my life.

What I failed to realize was the beauty in the age gap. Now that I am four hours from home, trying to figure out how to do laundry and to eat vegetables per my mother's request, my siblings have become my biggest support system.

There have been grudges held and names called, but that will never deny the fact that my sisters are my best friends. We have witnessed each other love and laugh and cry, creating an unbreakable bond that, as an emerging adult, I truly realize the value in.

While growing up we would go on sibling dates, an escape from the parental unit as we liked to call it, and in those moments is where, despite our differences, we laughed and talked and left a sister sized impact on each other that has, personally, shaped who I am today.

My brother and I share a 15 year age gap, and while my angsty teenage self-saw that as a reason to stray away from him, it really meant he had 15 more years of wisdom to offer me. As a family, we would always joke about how he is the 'Golden Child' because of both his accomplishments and his kind nature.

In reality, though, he truly is someone whom I admire and strive to become. Even within his adult life he makes a conscious effort to check in with me and offer a helping hand.

Though I thought being the youngest prevented me from ever being close with my siblings, it actually created memories and relationships that I wouldn't exchange for the world.

My mom knows a lot more about life, love, and drama than I ever thought.

My mom and I never had the closest relationship as I was growing up and that was due to how similar our personalities turned out to be. We're passionate, and opinionated, and stubborn and many times our clashing morals and opinions would create arguments and tension that lasted all too long.

Since moving to college my mom has become my ride-or-die best friend. I'm sure she doesn't always love to hear about the drama, the parties, the boys, but she offers words of advice that heal the heart and soothe the soul. Admittedly, I was homesick for the first month or so of college and hearing her voice over the phone offered me a little slice of home I knew I wouldn't have for another few weeks.

One thing I truly admire about my mom is the way in which she gives me advice. She never talks down to me or lectures me, but instead, she speaks from experience and uses situations from her own life that she believes will impact my decisions here at school.

She is the strongest woman I know and has been through love and loss in her life that I could not fathom experiencing. Though our differences seemingly got in the way of our relationship as I grew up, I cannot imagine being able to grow and thrive in college without her. Four hours away may not seem like an overabundance of distance, but when all I want is a home cooked meal and a meaningful hug, she feels a world away.

Even my extended family will drop everything to make sure I'm okay.

I received a text the other day on the way to the library and it was from my aunt. I speak a lot of love and loss, and in all sincerity, I have never met a woman who can overcome adversity with such a positive mindset like her. Without going into over extenuating detail, her life recently has been filled with the chaos I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

In her chaos, though, she takes the time to send her love from states away.

Every morning she sends words of encouragement that have brought positivity to the start of every day. No one asks her to do so, no one insists that she checks in, but in her selfless, beautiful nature she has the ability to make my day and make me miss home a little more.

Not just in college has she looked after my well-being, but since I was a child with no worries in the world. She is the life of the party and the light at the end of the tunnel. If anyone is so lucky to meet my aunt, she graces those around with her presence. I am so incredibly fortunate to have her in my life, today and every day.

The truest love you will ever experience in life is the unwavering love of family. I wish I realized this a little sooner in life, but nonetheless, the realization came just in time. College may be the hardest adjustment I have experienced thus far, but the support of my family back home gets me through the hardships each and every day.

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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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Why I Appreciate My Parents So Much

This is for my two biggest supporters.

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One thing I've noticed, the older I've gotten, is how much I appreciate my parents.

We've become so close, it's almost funny to think at one point I looked at them so much differently. When I was younger, my parents were much more strict than they are now. They disciplined differently and didn't let me do certain things. The older I've gotten, the more freedom I've gotten, which is one big sigh of relief.

My parents are such great people. Throughout my whole life, I've always had friends of parents or people who know my parents tell me how great they both are. I'm so blessed to have been raised by them and to have gotten their characteristics.

My mom is so loving and generous, and she thinks of literally everyone else in her life before herself. She's smart and funny, and she is always there when I need someone to talk to. She's taught me how to be courteous, kind, funny (with her sense of humor), and most importantly, accepting towards others.

The older I get, the more I realize how similar I am to her. She's my favorite woman in the whole world. We understand each other.

My dad is a thoughtful, hilarious, wise, and helpful guy who has taught me so many lessons throughout the years. He always makes sure my finances are in order, even more than I do. He keeps me laughing with his funny stories and made-up songs that he sings. He always asks me how my day was every time I walk through the door. He is so adorable and thoughtful, and I'm so happy I got his wit and humor.

His smile lights up a room and I'm so happy I've been hearing his laugh and will continue to for the rest of my life.

Another great thing about my parents is that they've taught me what love looks like. They're so loving, kind, and patient towards each other. I've rarely ever seen them fight in my life. They still treat one another how they did when they first started dating. I have friends and know people whose parents aren't together, and I'm so lucky to say I can't imagine what that's like.

My parents complete each other; they are soulmates. I'm so lucky and appreciative that I get to have the honor of watching their love play out throughout their lives.

I'm so happy and thankful that these are the parents I ended up with. They're the best. I hope to be half of my parents when I become a parent myself.

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