Dear family,

With the holiday season rolling around again, I find myself thinking about all that I have to be thankful for. This year, I will not be able to be home for Thanksgiving, but I truly wish I could be there with you — baking pies, frying the turkey, watching football, and just chatting. But I know that in just a few weeks, I will be home for Christmas break and we can continue our traditions then. For now, we will just need to rely on FaceTime (I apologize in advance for crying over FaceTime, I just miss you).

Our family is small, but it is close-knit. We have had our disagreements and our little fights, but we always come out stronger and closer. I cherish our movie nights and our walks at the pier on sunset, I cherish our Sunday barbecues and our vacations to explore new places.

Many of the holidays we celebrate revolve around giving gifts at one point or another. However, Thanksgiving does not fall into that category. At Thanksgiving, we wake up early to cook together, we sit around the table and say grace, we sit on the couch and watch television while we are stuffed, and then we stuff ourselves with some dessert. My favorite tradition was always trying a bite of pumpkin pie with grandma, even though we both did not enjoy it. Thanksgiving is all about the simple pleasures.

So, family, since I will not be home for Thanksgiving this year, I want you to know this — you are the people who I am most thankful for in my life.

To my parents,

Thank you. Thank you for raising me the way that you have, to be a responsible and caring and loving woman. Thank you for always being there to support me, whether it be academically, sports-wise, or even regarding other aspects of life. I have you to thank for my success, for giving me the tools to learn what has brought me this far in life. And now, as I am at a point in my life that I have been looking forward to forever, you have both stood by my side through the application process, the waiting process, and even the recently-beginning interview process. Your support and love mean the absolute world to me. I cannot wait for future moments spent together, especially the upcoming holidays like Christmas and New Years.

To my sister,

You are my main girl. Sisters by chance, best friends by choice, right? I am so thankful that you were born 16 years ago. Yes, we argue and we have petty fights, but five minutes later we are laughing and joking again. My wish is that you go to the same college that I go to for veterinary school. I want to spend more time and have more shenanigans together. You always give me good advice and are so sweet when I am feeling down, sometimes I feel like you are the big sister. Just know that I will always be here for you, no matter what.

Even though we will not be together, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and know that I miss you greatly. I always prefer to be together, but I hope we will both have good days nonetheless.

So family, eat a little bit of extra stuffing and apple pie for me this Thanksgiving.

I love you Always and Forever to Infinity and Beyond,

You eternally grateful daughter