I Am The Oldest And I Will Always Protect You

I Am The Oldest And I Will Always Protect You

A lil love letter to my cousins.

Let me start by saying how lucky Jack, Adam, and I are to have ten AMAZING first-cousins. I have the privilege and honor of being the oldest cousin on both sides of the family, and I have been able to watch each and every one of you grow into kind, thoughtful, and genuine human beings. Some of you are still little and some of you are almost as tall as me (maybe even taller UGH). Some of you live on the other side of my town and some of you live in another state. But every single one of you is loved, treasured, and admired by the people around you; especially by me. Your parents (all my awesome aunts and uncles) deserve a shoutout for raising such amazing little people.

I am the oldest and I will always protect you. That is my promise. This one's for you <3

Jessica and Nathan:

My Giggle Sister and My Handyman

I will never forget the phone calls and random acts of kindness in July, or the various (and creative) happy birthday messages in November. I will never forget you guys driving all the way to Stonehill to hand-deliver a care package (complete with homemade cookies) and taking me out for ice cream. Jessie, you are my oldest friend, my truest supporter, and my favorite baby-sitting partner (especially when we mom-it-up at Panera). Nathan, you have traded your fire truck collection for actual Chevy (NOT FORD GUYS NOT FORD) trucks you can drive, you are always willing to lend a helping hand, and you appreciate the little things more than most people your age. Auntie Bear, thank you for taking me out for my birthday dinner and making me feel so special. Uncle Zoo, thank you for always sharing those posts about people you love with diabetes. Your part of the family is filled with generous gems that shine from the inside out. <3

Ryan and Addison:

My ROTC Boy and My Snuggle Bug

I will never forget the “daisy days”. The days where Ryan practiced writing his name at my kitchen table and sang songs on my living room floor. The days when I would open the door to see Addison's smiling little baby face as she woke up from her nap, then I would cover her with kisses and change her stinky diaper. Ryan, you are a karate master, a fierce protector of your loved ones, and a technological wizard. Addi, you are the best helper a daycare worker could ever ask for, my favorite snuggle-buddy (you’ll still fall asleep with me on the couch), and the hardest person to find when we play hide and seek. Auntie Ange, thank you for always sewing pockets into all my dresses for my insulin pump (and making adjustments as necessary!). Uncle Matt, thank you for teaching me how to “share” a hug and for texting our family group chat every single day because it really makes my heart happy (Ilytm;). Your part of the family is filled with memorable marbles that always know the right path to take. <3

Jared, Bryan, and Sadie:

My Tightest Hugger, My Basketball Boy, and My Lovie Girl

I will never forget those summer days when Jared comes to visit and we have countless adventures involving ice cream and mini golf. I will never forget all the times I've been able to babysit the twins (from before they could walk to now) during the annual Christmas shopping trip. Jared, you are my loving, sarcastic partner in crime, you proudly take the most unflattering pictures of me, and you just get me without me having to saying a word (true talent right there). Bryan, you are simultaneously an ocean wave of energy and a shy starfish, an adorable basketball enthusiast, and those cute little eyeballs will always be one of my favorite things about you. Sadie, you are a serious, considerate, and thoughtful little love muffin, you are always up for a selfie (with and without filters), and you remind me so much of myself. Auntie Katie (I mean awesomeauntiekatie….), thank you for always fulfilling your godmother duties and for hyping up everything I post on social media. You are truly one of the strongest people I know and I don't think anyone tells you that enough; I am so proud of everything you are. Your part of the family is filled with rays of sunshine that quite literally melt my heart. <3

Kyle, Aidan, and Luke:

My Meme Master, My Tickle Monster, and My Lukie

I will never forget making construction paper crowns on Nana and Grampy’s porch and performing the play we created from our imaginations. I will never forget visiting Florida for Luke’s first birthday and swimming the days away. I will never forget the summer adventures we were lucky enough to have two years in a row. Kyle, you are sensitive and kind, you have a relevant meme for any and all occasions, and you have the subtlest sense of humor (I make sure to pay close attention to when you say something funny because I find you hilarious). Aidan, you have the best giggle of anyone I’ve ever met (you are ticklish EVERYWHERE), you love a good running gag (cue heavy labor breathing), and I love when you snuggle right into me. Luke, I wish you could visit more often my darling because you are growing into a sassy little firecracker and I look forward to watching you grow. Uncle Markie (Stinkfoot), thank you for giving me these three boys, for turning any bad situation into something funny, and for finding me ridiculous Christmas cards. Your part of the family is filled with bubbles of giggles and I wish all you guys lived closer. <3

I am the oldest and I will always protect you. That is my promise. I love you <3


Your Cousin Hannah

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Withee

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Being Close To Your Cousins Is The Best Thing That Can Happen To You

Who needs therapists when you have cousins like mine?


My cousins bring out the best in me. When I'm with them, I am happier. They have played a significant role in shaping my mind and my soul. My cousins are the most meaningful people in my life—my life would be incomplete without them. Here are six reasons why cousins are awesome!

1. They help you define yourself 


My cousins know me inside out. When I find myself in situations where a choice has to be made, be it choosing my career or just another pizza, my cousins have helped me choose—they know me so well! There have been times when my cousins knew things about me that I myself didn't know. It's always good to see yourself through others' eyes, and no one can get as real as your cousins.

2. They inspire you 


Dance is something that I feel I was destined to do. It is one hobby I could never give up. My childhood is marked with memories of my cousin Rishabh and I going crazy to Bollywood songs. His passion and energy acted as my fuel. It is with him that I discovered the dancer hidden within me. His love for dance continues to inspire me each day.

3. They are there for you, no matter what 


My cousins have always been there for me, through thick and thin. They have helped me understand and control my emotions. Who needs therapists when you have cousins like mine?

4. You learn so much from them 


My cousin Shivam formed the image of an ideal elder brother in my life. He always stood with what was right and fought against the wrong. I look up to him because in him I see someone who is wise way beyond his years. I see a nurturing, supportive, patient man who is aware of his words and actions. Being the eldest of us all, he made sure we felt happy and safe. From him, I have learned the importance of selfless love, humility, and of always being right. Growing up with these amazing people that I call my cousins, I learned new things every day.

5. They understand you 


They were there through the hair color phase, the nose ring phase, the Taylor Swift phase, and they never judged you.

6. They're like parents, but cooler 


When you make a mistake, they will correct you. When you cross the line, they will put you back in your place. But when you want to go out partying, they'll also help you pick an outfit!

Cousins are a blessing in disguise. And if you have cousins like mine, oh boy, you must be lucky! My cousins make the challenging path toward adulthood worth walking. They make life worth living. And as we part ways and move into different cities, our hearts will always be together and their lessons always with me.

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