i miss my cousins

The Holidays Are Perfectly Timed, Because Sometimes You Just Miss Your People

"But missing them is more than missing the stuff we do together. It's missing this feeling of deep belonging and love."


Very rarely in life do I actively miss my extended family. I see at least parts of them often enough that it's not super common for me to think "geez, I really miss being with those guys."

But this semester, I haven't seen really any of my extended family.

I didn't realize it until a friend of mine made an offhand comment that made me think of them. And then, all of a sudden, I missed them actively and acutely. I had this really intense longing to be in the comfort of my family and nothing I did could quite shake that feeling. It would go away for a little while and then a song would come on or I would smell something that reminded me of being with my fam and it would come back.

I should back up and say that I come from a HUGE extended family.

I have about 20 first cousins, so it's rare to have less than thirty at any family gathering. That being said, it's also really hard to get everyone (or even most of us) together at once. But when we do gather, it's a huge party. People from outside the family are really easily overwhelmed by the sheer number of us and by how loud and crazy we are. Every time I see that, I become that much more thankful to be a part of my family, to be "in" on the shenanigans.

But missing them is more than missing the stuff we do together.

It's missing this feeling of deep belonging and love. I know, I hear how cheesy that sounds, but it's true. I don't have to worry about whether or not they'll like me because they've seen me at my worst (I mean, come on, they knew me in middle school and still love me). There's a certain warmth and safety that comes from being surrounded by people who have known your for your entire life. I think of the times that I'm with my people as being a lot like the holidays for other people; there's just something that's a little warmer, a little happier, a little fuller, a little more than other times of the year. It's like that for me when I'm with my family, whether it's a holiday or not.

Now don't get me wrong, my family isn't this perfect unit that's always fun and loving and happy. We have our fair share of stress, annoyances, and differing opinions. But, I don't remember the last time that we let those truly get in the way of having a good time together. I guess it has something to do with the fact that we don't all see each other very often. Or maybe we're just weirdly close?

Sure, sometimes I get overwhelmed by all of the people and the noise and the chaos, but I also feel strangely at home in it. I mean, I've spent time with these people my entire life. For as long as I can remember, we've all been cramped into our grandmother's too small, too hot house, scrambling to get the best chairs or the best food or even just to pick on one another. Some of my happiest memories are of having an all-out marshmallow war in the living room and of having "cousins sleepovers" in the floor.

"My people" are the ones who've known me my whole life; they've not only shared in my highest and lowest moments, but they've lived them as some of their own. Some of my best memories have come from nothing more than being with them and letting things unfold. So to my people, thank you for being all that you are. See you soon!

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Summer = Rest?

Sometimes it feels as if we need a vacation... from our vacation.


Ah summer: Popsicles and sun burns, mixed with fresh-squeezed lemonade that local kids are pandering to make enough money for Roman candles and Black Cats. The crack of the bat can be heard among the simmering charcoal grills and Troy-bilts humming through the ever-lasting sun. School is out and children are wild. It's a paradise.

Or is it?

But after countless sports camps and tournaments, other camps, vacations, school (?) events, traveling teams, VBS, summer seems to have been sucked fun-free.

Maybe it's Hollywood and Harper Lee's fault for giving us this utopian view of what summer should look and feel like (I'm looking at you Sandlot). But how can we really rest this summer? Because everyone needs some actual rest, even adults.

First thing is do NOT pack your summer full. Say no to some things. Coaches and Families can expect too much and it's okay to say no to them. You have to. There is no time for kids to be kids anymore.

Work can take a backseat. Vacations need to be taken. Families need to reconnect.

And for all my super-scheduled people out there, please PLEASE don't schedule out your vacation. Just enjoy it.

Another bit of advice would be to put away the technology and spend some time outside. When was the last time you tried to catch lightning bugs? Or went for a swim? Or listened to birds on your front porch?

I may sound like I have an old soul, but I really feel like we have lost this connection to the outside world. Summer is all about getting a farmer's tan and getting stung once or twice. I can guarantee you that's some of the best therapy in the world.

Maybe this sounds all over the place. Maybe this sounds like me ranting. And it probably is.

But I'm telling you that this stuff matters. Don't let summer whiz by and you arrive in August more drained that you were in May. Enjoy this time with family and friends.

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