To My Community, Thank You

To My Community, Thank You

It's the season of being thankful; thankful for our parents paying our bills, for close friends stopping by, thankful for homecooked meals -- this year, I'm thankful for my community.

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I was born and raised in a small, poor community. Most of my friends haven't even heard of my town, so I keep a map saved in my photos so it's easily accessible in a pinch. Lubec is the Eastern most point in the entire United States — and, another cool fact, it's the closest point in the states to Africa.

Besides my college town, Lubec is the only place I've lived, and I'm so grateful for that. Even though Lubec's median income is below the poverty line, I've learned so much about giving.

Every year around Christmas, my town holds a toy drive. There are boxes posted around town where people can drop off gifts for families or kids that aren't fortunate; there are several opportunities in the winter for people to drop off lightly used winter jackets, gloves, mittens, hats, and so on.

When somebody in the community gets sick -- you bet we're having an online Facebook dessert auction to raise money to help pay for their care.

When my grandmother was sick with cancer and needed help paying for her treatments and travel costs, the people of Lubec rallied together and raised a good chunk of change for her. Maybe a week later, the community came together and did the same thing for another older gentlemen battling cancer.

When I was still going to school to become a physical therapist, a local woman said to me, "If you need help paying for school, let me know! We'll hold a fundraiser. We'll have you taken care of."

I don't doubt that one bit.

I was fundraising to go to Washington, D.C. my senior year of high school, I raised six-hundred dollars on a Yankee Candle fundraiser. I hung out at my workplace with a table and a horrible, handwritten sign. If I remember correctly, three-hundred dollars was directly from donations, just from that one fundraiser.

I left a donation bucket up at my workplace. I saw people drop twenty dollars in it, others would tell me to throw their change in the bucket.

The thing about living in a small community is that people give what they can and they don't expect anything in return.

This is the biggest reason why I am so thankful I come from such a small, tight-knit community. If you're struggling, if you want to do something super cool like go to Washington, D.C.; if you need a ride to a doctors appointment, someone will surely be able to help you out. Need someone to pick up your meds? As long as you can get them the cash, you can count on them.

There have been lots of times I've needed a ride after school, and my mom couldn't come to get me on account of her being at work. Sometimes coworkers will offer, and the only thing they ask for in return is "a bit of" gas money for the trip to Machias (which is thirty miles away).

I'm so grateful for my community; they have all shaped me into a person willing to do what I can within my means, whether it be buying a friend dinner or lending a compassionate ear.

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Dear Dad, I Hope You Know

I hope you know that you are my best friend.
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Dear Dad,

I hope you know that I love your silly jokes, even when I say I don't.

Throughout my entire life, you have always managed to get on my last nerve with your countless jokes and teasing. However, now that I'm older, I realize you do it all out of love. So for that, I thank you. Thank you so much for always knowing how to make me smile or laugh, even on the worst of days, I know I can always count on you to have my back.

I hope you know that I'm so incredibly thankful for you and everything you do.

You always work your hardest to make sure you provide for our family and then, to top it all off, you're still there at the end of the day supporting us in all that we do. From sporting events to dance recitals and even to sorority banquets, you're always sitting in the front row cheering us on to reach our full potential.

I hope you know I'm so appreciative that you're the best mechanic around.

Because my car has been through the ringer too many times to count and you're always there to figure out what went wrong. Not only that, thank you so much for always changing my oil or replacing my brake light when it went out. I know I may not always act like it, but I'm so appreciative of all the little things you do for me.

I hope you know that I'm sorry.

When I was younger, I wasn't always the most pleasant daughter, and for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not listening to you when you told me to take out the trash or to clean the kitchen. I'm sorry for yelling at you, talking back to you, and being a big pain in the butt, but I'm so thankful that you still love me anyways regardless of how many times I screw up.

I hope you know that you inspire me.

Not only does your hard work and dedication to your work and your family inspire me, but your overwhelming sense of love and gratitude you have for everyone around you does as well. Even though you try and act tough, you're such a big teddy bear and all of your friends and family love you for that.

I hope you know that you are my best friend.

And for right now, the only man in my life that I need. I pray every single day that I can find half the man to marry that you are. Thank you for always being that example for my sisters and I to look up too.

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.

So I know I stole this line from my article to Mom, but I want you to know that it still applies to you and I mean it wholeheartedly. I don't mean to make you cry or anything -- and I'll laugh at you if you are, but I want you to know that when the time comes, I'm going to be there for you just like all of these years you've been here for me. I will be there to support you, talk with you, laugh with you, cry with you, and love you for all of my life.

Dad, I can't imagine my life without you. Thank you for being YOU.

I love you,

Your daughter.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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14 Things You Relate To If You Grew Up WithOUT Any Cousins

*GASP* "What, you really don't have any cousins?"

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It always shocks every person who hears me state that I do not have any cousins. For some reason, this is just hard for people to really believe when it's actually not something impossible. I think we are all just so used to large families that it sounds weird when people say that they have no cousins. Yet, it is definitely a potential reality, and actually impossible if each of your parents is the only child to your grandparents.

Here are 14 things that you can relate to if you grew up without any cousins.

1. Nobody believes you when you say that you don't have any cousins

I'm serious, for the tenth time.

2. Your grandparents spoil you

With no other grandchildren to worry about, it's pretty easy to do.

3. You don't understand when people say that cousins are your first best friends

My best friend was my first best friend.

4. You and your siblings are always the youngest people at family events

This was simultaneosuly a good thing and a bad thing.

5. You get all of the attention at holidays

Since you're the youngest one around, then distant relatives are always doting over you.

6. Everything you do is deemed awesome by your extended family because there is nobody to compete with

It's much easier to be praised when you aren't being compared to someone similar to your age.

7. You don't know how to hold babies

You're never around them so why would you?

8. Family photos are pretty easy to coordinate

The less people, the easier.

9. Other family members spoil you just because 

Afterall, you are the only kid around...

10. The family will make comments regarding the potential for you to have a cousin as a justification for why they aren't doing something for you

When you hear, "I can't buy you too much because someday your aunt is going to have kids and I will have to do the same for them" you cringe and just had to know that all of the attention wouldn't last forever.

11. Birthdays are always a big deal

A perk of not having very many to remember.

12. If your parents' siblings own pets, then you refer to the animal as your cousin

Cat cousins, dog cousins, lizard cousins, and fish cousins can be pretty cool, actually.

13. Sometimes you dream of marrying into a big family

This is to ensure that your kids do grow up with cousins.

14. You appreciate the closeness of your tight-knit fam

Maybe the only thing you would miss if you had a big family is the opportunity to develop such close bonds with the few relatives that you do have.

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