Dear Cousins (well all of those I have of the male type, which is all of you except one),
How is it going? I know we haven’t seen each other in a few months since Christmas time is now over and everything. I’m doing good, and I hope you are, too. I wanted to write this to you to let you all know how thankful I am that I grew up with a group of goofballs like you. Without you all, I wouldn’t be the woman I have grown to be today. Here are a few things you have taught me and how you have helped me along the way.
First of all, thank you for sharing in so many adventures with me whenever we were kids. You showed me that I can be one of the guys every once in a while and bumps, scratches, scraps, bruises and mud are nothing to be afraid of or upset at. Thank you for teaching me how to throw a football, play soccer, fish and shoot a paintball gun – many things 8-year-old girls don’t do that often. Through these adventures, whether you know it or not, you taught me to be brave and tough. Whether hiking down to the creek at Uncle Tom’s house or swimming in a pond with snakes, my courage to face different things in life developed with you.
Secondly, thank you for creating so many great memories with me that I am able to hold and hopefully share with people. We did a lot of weird things over the years, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We have so many things to sit and talk about now at family functions. One of my favorites is whenever we trusted Jacob and TJ with our lives to take us all on a Lewis and Clark trek across the pond in that dinky little canoe. You always gave our parents and me someone to hang out with on the weekends. This, I’m pretty positive, was a lifesaver for all of us and helped us to grow closer.
Next, I’d like to say, thank you for teaching me that it’s OK to get in trouble sometimes. No matter what we did, it always seemed that we got in trouble somehow. We all made it through somehow; although, we’re still just as hellish as we were then, I’m sure. I remember how mad Uncle Tom was that one year when we tore up his yard during that rainy Fourth of July with the boogie board slip and slide. For me, however, I do not regret this or anything else because I wouldn’t have had that fun time that I had with you.
Finally, I’d like to say thank you for teaching me how a man should act toward a woman. Yes, I know our family is a gigantic bunch of inappropriate heathens, but under it all, we all know that one another must be respected and loved through anything and everything unconditionally. You’ve shown me how men should act and that I shouldn’t accept anything less. Thank you for also having my back in every stage of life. I know I have a gigantic support group who will be there at any time, no matter when or where. Finally, I know that if any guy ever breaks my heart, he is going to have a bunch of men coming after him and will probably be pretty sorry about his actions toward me.
We are now all grown up, the last two of us graduate from college in the next two years. I don’t know how we have made it this far, but I’m happy we did. I’m happy we’ve shared our lives together, and I’m happy to call you buffoons my family. I know we are not nearly as close as we were when we were young, we only see each other on holidays instead of every weekend, but I do have to say, those days are some of my favorites in the whole year. I know you will all do great things with you lives. I am also convinced our family will take over and change the world... maybe. We are now all starting to go our separate ways, and I am not sure how often we will all be able to get together anymore, but there is one thing I am sure of. I know I will always be a part of our crazy family, and no matter where we all are, we will always have each other’s backs no matter what, and thank you for that. You’ve taught me so many great things in my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Love you all,