My Best Friends Are My Cousins' Girlfriends

To The Girls Who Have Won My Cousins' Hearts, You've Also Won Mine

I don't know whose luckier: me or the boys.

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To Molly and Carli,

Being the youngest out of all of the cousins has never been difficult for me. In fact, I love it; it makes me all the more intimidating. So when they start bringing around their significant others, I'm always putting them through a test--figuratively and literally.

I have always been overprotective of my family because of how much they mean to me. I have been lucky enough to have great relationships with my entire family, but the boys I have a bond like no other, as you can probably tell. Being around the same age, attending the same university and sharing secrets that can never leave the Progress 910 apartment.

When I first heard that they had girlfriends, my guard immediately went up. They may annoy me, tease me and get on my very last nerve, but they still sit high on the pedestal in my mind.

When I first met you both, I remember trying to keep my distance. I wanted to see how you all interacted, how you were treating each other, and making mental notes if I saw anything I didn't like. That didn't happen, though. I immediately struck up conversations with you both and it didn't seem like I could stop. All three of us are alike, in more ways than one, and it helps so that we can talk about anything and everything with each other.

This past Pritchard Family Christmas, you guys were able to join in with us. As I've mentioned in previous articles, we have lots of traditions, but one of the most important would be the lip sync battle. After a lot of convincing, I was finally able to get you guys to join me for the competition.

Singing and dancing to the ABC's is something I will never forget. Trust me, that song will never be the same.

Although I'm hard on the majority of girlfriends and boyfriends my family introduces me to, it all comes from a good place. And as long as you all continue to treat each other right, there won't be anything to worry about.

Thank you both for being such important parts of my life. I've never had many friends that are girls, so this is something that I will treasure forever.

I love you both to death,

Laken

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To The Grandmothers Who Made Us The Women We Are Today

Sincerely, the loving granddaughters.
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The relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter is something so uniquely special and something to be treasured forever.

Your grandma loves you like you are her own daughter and adores you no matter what. She is the first person you run to when you have a problem with your parents and she never fails to grace you with the most comforting advice.

She may be guilty of spoiling you rotten but still makes sure to stress the importance of being thankful and kind.

Your grandma has most likely lived through every obstacle that you are experiencing now as a young adult and always knows just exactly what to say.

She grew up in another generation where things were probably much harder for young women than they are today.

She is a walking example of perseverance, strength, and grace who you aim to be like someday.

Your grandma teaches you the lessons she had to learn the hard way because she does not want you to make the same mistakes she did when she was growing up.

Her hugs never fail to warm your heart, her smile never fails to make you smile, and her laugh never fails to brighten your day.

She inspires you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

You only hope that one day you can be the mother and grandmother she was to you.

A piece of girl’s heart will forever belong to her grandma that no one could ever replace.

She is the matriarch of your family and is the glue that holds you all together.

Grandmothers play such an important role in helping their granddaughters to grow into strong, intelligent, kind women.

She teaches you how to love and how to forgive.

Without the unconditional love of your grandma, you would not be the woman you are today.

To all of the grandmothers out there, thank you for being you.

Sincerely,

the loving granddaughters

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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To The Cousin Who Is More Like My Sister, I Am So Thankful For You

Here's to a lifetime of dance parties in living rooms and conversations that light up any room that we're in.

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Dear sister,

In the short six months I have gotten to know you, my mind is still blown by how fast my heart found so much joy in spending time with you. There are days where I wish that I would have gotten to know you sooner, like WAY sooner, but God's plan for our lives doesn't always match up with ours - and in this case, I think His plan worked out pretty great. And sure, we could call ourselves second cousins and dabble in all the technicalities, but what fun would that be?

We both know that "sisters" is a much better word to define this beautiful, weird, and spontaneous relationship of ours.

I think about all the beautiful gifts Jesus has given me in my life and you're pretty high up on that list. Yes, even on the days where I've called you a panini head and the times when you threaten to hang up on me on FaceTime because of how I annoy you to wit's end. Even then, I find myself so thankful that you play such a big part in my life. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted a sister that I can share my love for Jesus, Indian food, (specifically, lamb curry), cute redhead boys, cliché chick flicks, and worship music. And now here you are. Sometimes I'm still in shock that Jesus has been so good to me that He would bring you into my life, but He's just that good and is just that faithful to His promises - and you can hold on to that truth for the rest of your life.

I hope you know that whenever you like a boy you can tell me and we can talk about how boys are the absolute WORST and then proceed to talk about how Jesus is WAY better, and then end with scrolling through pictures of our celebrity crushes.

I hope you never get tired of being goofy because that is most definitely one of my favorite things about you. You bring out the goofy side of me and It's the most fun. It reminds me that confidence can be found in being yourself- which sometimes means you just need to break out into a singing and dancing session in your bedroom. I hope you never lose your wonder of getting to know Jesus personally and wanting to pursue a life of chasing after Him because that is the number one thing that will get you through your teenage years. I promise you that.

On the days where you feel so incredibly overwhelmed by all that life is I hope you know that I am always for you. I will always pick up the phone to pray for you, and I will always listen to your rants.

I hope that we are for each other just as much as our moms are for each other. I hope that one day we sit in the kitchen laughing and sharing stories from our time together just like our moms do now.

I hope you never doubt your worth and always appreciate your culture, wearing your Indian dresses with pride because you know that your ethnicity is a beautiful part of who you are and what your story is. Because sister, if there is a life lesson you should learn right now it's that when you walk through life with confidence in who you are it's pretty dang hard for anyone to tell you otherwise. And I hope that no one ever does. I hope you continue to walk through life with your head held high because you know who you are and you are proud of it.

I hope you find joy in the mundane of life because seeking joy in the routine of your every day is what gets you through the hardest of days. I hope you know that joy will be your strength, no matter how old you get. And that finding joy can range from sharing a night of laughter with your family to getting chick fil a one the days you crave it the most (every day).

Even though we don't live in the same state, one of my favorite things is to have our weekly FaceTime calls that usually consist of an outburst of dancing, sharing stories from our life, doing yoga, or having a study session, which..more often than not is interrupted by your brothers walking in or a dance session breaking out.

Sweet friend, It has been such a joy to know you, to see who you are, what you're passionate about, and to already watch you grow into the amazing young woman that you're becoming. I can't wait to cheer you on in every big moment that happens in your life. From when you get your license (yikes, I know) to when you become a Doctor (yes, you will be). I can't wait to watch you grow in confidence and courage and boldness. You are going to be a great leader, someone who selflessly serves others, and someone who treats others like Jesus would treat them.

Sister, I hope you never get sick of calling me sister, because it makes my heart glad to know that we share that type of bond. I hope that whenever you have a day that makes even the smallest things terrible, that you can read this and feel a small ounce of joy in knowing that this is a relationship that will last a lifetime. I pray for you to always know your worth, know that you are loved beyond all measures, and to know that you are and will be resilient in any circumstance that comes your way.

So sister here's to a lifetime of laughing so hard we cry, crying so hard we laugh, and dancing around in the living room because we have so much joy in our hearts - no matter what life throws at us.

Here's too more late night talks in the guest room with the warm lamp lights and more back popping sessions on the living room floor. Here's to a lifetime of joy, adventures, and stories. I can't wait to walk through so much more life with you. I love you.

glowing queens Christina Thomas

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