A Letter To My First Best Friends

A Letter To My First Best Friends

I'm so grateful to have you.

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I met my first best friends when I was too young to remember.

When I was two years old, my great-grandma recommended a small, old, Irish-themed resort in the Catskills Mountains in upstate New York. My parents took my sister and I up for one week in August (Kids Rule Week), and, when we arrived, we saw this rundown playground with one swing set and a playhouse. While my parents were apprehensive about our stay, my sister and I couldn't be more thrilled- there was a PLAYGROUND for crying out loud! We jumped out of the car and ran to the playground, happy to spend the next five days on the swing sets that seemed to be ready to break any minute.

Throughout the years of our weeks at Gavin's, I found myself a group of friends that I would eventually come to view as sisters. Their names are Ciara, Kaylee, Bridget, and Anna, and I hold each one of them as near to my heart as I can.

Each of their families has made me feel like I am one of their own flesh and blood, and my family treats them all with a similar courtesy. Their families make sure to include me in everything, whether it's visiting Howe Caverns for my first time, spending the whole day at Zoom Flume, even including me in all their family pictures. Every year we go-kart, we go to water parks, we sing karaoke, and we just enjoy each other's company.

We would spend so much money at the go-kart track every year. This place was also very rundown, with no helmets and race cars that had to be tuned up after every race and never ran the same speed, but it gave us such an adrenaline rush like no other. Ciara, the youngest of our friend group, would drive her cart like a madman, and we were all terrified for the day she was able to be on the road.

She got her license in January, and driving with her is so funny to me because all I can picture is the crazy little redhead knocking everyone into the side of the track.

Bridget is an amazing dancer with so much dedication to her sport. She just graduated high school and is starting college this fall.

Anna is graduating from college in the coming spring as a teacher, and she already has her own classroom of young students that absolutely adore her!

Ciara just won class president for her senior class and will be giving a speech at graduation. She is absolutely brilliant and was even featured in 17 Magazine for her organization of a school walkout back in March.

Kaylee was class president throughout high school and is so dedicated to everything she puts her time into. She is absolutely one of the friendliest, most caring people I've ever met.

Bridget and Kaylee are even going to school together now- how I WISH I could spend time with them there!

We have grown up together as a family- we have laughed together, we have cried together, we have pulled all-nighters together, we have stayed up until 3 am talking about our fears for the future and for our education. I know that I can go to them with anything and trust them with knowing the deepest, most vulnerable parts of me.

I yearned for the summers because that meant I was that much closer to Gavin's and that much closer to seeing my best friends. Until we were older, we only saw each other once a year for five days. Other than that, we would email back and forth, making sure to use the brightest and craziest fonts we had available to us. As we grew up, we were able to drive back and forth to each other- we lived within an hour of each other, but it seemed so much further when we were little.

Every year that I have been able to go to Gavin's has been better than the last, and that's because of my girls.

Once I moved, these visits became minimal yet again, but even more cherished than before.

I haven't been to Gavin's since I moved to Florida, but I think about the next time I can go back every day. I hope one day I can give my kids the same amazing experience I was able to get from going to Gavin's.

I write this to thank them for being the most fantastic people I have ever met; all of you have such courage, such vibrancy, such brilliance inside each and every one of you, and I am so grateful to have been a part of all of your journeys for so long. You each have done so much for me in your own ways, and just thinking about the next time we can all be together again brings joy to my heart.

Things now are so different than they were when we were young- we have all experienced hardships since the days of us running around the playgrounds and having bonfires in the fields. We are all on the brink of adulthood, but our memories at Gavin's will never change and will keep us bonded forever.

I love you all with everything in me and am so glad to have such a wonderful and supportive group of sisters.

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A Thank You To My Boyfriend's Family

Because you are so important to him, you are important to me.
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This one isn't easy to sit down and write because nothing I could say would do all of you justice in the way that I would hope I could. These are just words, but I hope that I am able to always show my thank you to you by treating him like the prince he is.

I can replay the moment of meeting each and every one of you all over and over in my head like it was yesterday. I was so extremely nervous every single time and I was trying to gather all the "right" things to say that would leave a good, first-lasting impression and that at the end of the day, you all would like me.

I think one of the most important basis and hopes in my relationship is that my significant other's family likes who I am. This is so important to me because whatever is important to him is equally important to me and your thoughts of me are crucial to our relationship.

The second I walked in the door, I was overwhelmed—overwhelmed with such a love. I had no idea at that point in time just how much you would all mean to me and how thankful I am for all of you!

Thank you for constantly making me laugh and feel at home.

Whenever I'm coming over for a family gathering or just to hang out, I know right off that I am walking into a world of laughter and good times are right beside that. You are all so entertaining and always have a good story to tell me. I can't name one time where I didn't feel like I was home.

And I appreciate the sweet, embarrassing photos and stories about my boyfriend that you all share with me! Even if it is by a photo, I have a glimpse of what his life has always been like thanks to each and every one of you individually.

Thank you for sharing your special moments in life with me.

You don't ever have to, but you invite me anyway. Whether it's just a family gathering, a birthday, or a holiday, I am thankful to have spent those times celebrating these moments in life alongside such amazing people. It's humbling and heartwarming to be a part of memories so unforgettable that you all share and that you have welcomed me to be a part of. They are days that I will never forget and have a place in my heart forever.

Thank you for always being there for him.

Since we have started dating, I have watched the way that you guys love him. I have watched the individual relationships and moments that you share with him make a difference in who he is. I have seen you all love and support him, no matter what he was doing.

With everything that comes along in life, this has been a simple reminder of an unconditional, loving, sacrificing family that is also the best support system. You are not only impacting him, but me, too.

Thank you for welcoming me in like your own.

Whenever you have to brave up and meet your significant other's family, I can say, for myself, that I didn't know what to expect. As I'm sure, none of you did when meeting me. Today, I catch myself wondering why I even worried in the first place. You all have welcomed me in your own ways and made me feel right at home. It is not always easy to do that with just anyone, but you have all taken the time to get to know me. And now I know that if I ever needed anything, I can call one of you.

Thank you for letting me date him.

I am most thankful for this. Thank you for sharing him with me and giving me a chance to show you all how important he is to me. I never thought that I would luck out and meet someone as special, kind, and wonderful as he is, but I did.

You have supported our relationship, given me a chance to love him, and welcomed me to new adventures in love and family. I have the upmost gratitude for each of you. You are the most wonderful, welcoming, and loving family. I am overjoyed to be able to experience just a glimpse of this life with him and with all of you.

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Just Because I Have Anxiety Doesn't Mean I Can't Go See My Favorite Artists In Concert

Just because I have anxiety, doesn't mean I don't have a place where I'm okay.

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Social anxiety. A lot of people have it. Especially in my age group.

It's rough. It causes stress and fright and puts a huge strain on your ability to function in everyday life.

But, sometimes, you are able to find a place that doesn't give you that - a place that allows you to feel safe, comforted, happy, and like you're home.

It could be your family's home, a friend's home, a dance studio, a band room, or a school. It could be anywhere for anyone.

But, my place? I have a home at concerts.

What concerts? I'm sure you could assume by now. But, yes, Niall Horan concerts.

I'm not going to go into depth about his concerts specifically, because it's not that important, but I think it's important to understand why concerts are so different for me than any other social setting.

I can't remember a time where I didn't have anxiety. I think I've always had it, but it became even more prevalent in college, and I couldn't find a place to fit in. It's not that easy as to find a club or find a new friend around campus. I had to find my own niche; my own place where I belong.

Concerts helped me get there, specifically my Niall concerts. I met my best friends because of my concerts. It's the one place in the entire world where suddenly I'm not afraid of anything. I am singing loudly and dancing like no one is next to me. I am wearing outfits I have never had the confidence to wear before. I am traveling the country to see my favorite artist.

I am my best self when I am at a concert with my favorite person.

It's hard to understand, I get it. How could someone be so comfortable in a huge environment with people they don't know but aren't able to go to a party or a club because it's with people they aren't around?

I don't know how to explain it. It's a different feeling. With every concert, each person is there for the same reason. We are there for our best friend, with our best friends, singing our favorite songs. We all go to feel loved, accepted, and free. It's the one place we have in the world without judgment.

It's the one place where I feel free to be my true self. I hold nothing back. I'm not afraid to sing loud, to dance obnoxiously, to yell out "Yeah, baby!" in front of friends. It's a place I can call home.

So, before you judge someone on why they don't feel anxious in a concert, take a second to think about why they feel that way. Just because concert doesn't seem like your average safe space, let me tell you, it is for a lot of people.

It's important to recognize this.

Because, let me tell you, a concert is my favorite place to be.

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