PSA: Thursday is Thanksgiving.

And while this means excessive overeating (and raising my already high cholesterol), it also means, well, giving thanks.

For a lot of people, this is a religious thing. And while I understand that, and think that it’s important, I also think we should remember to thank the people around us.

I’m very lucky; I would consider myself rich, even, at least when it comes to family. Obviously, I’ve been every open about my familial struggles on this blog; I haven’t shared enough about the opposite, though.

I’ve been blessed with so many people who love me so much. And, even though I have lost some of them along the way, I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for all the people who have ever loved me.

I lost my mom when I was 15. Fortunately, I grew up with a second mom who loved me just as much. My aunt Linda has, without a doubt, been the most constant person in my life. I don’t know what I would do without her. Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you. She’s the first person I call in any and every situation. And that’s because she always tells me what I need to hear; not what I want to hear, but what I need to hear. She answers the phone every time I call (6 times a day) and she listens. She tells me when I’m right, and she corrects me when I’m wrong. She has always taken care of me and gone far beyond the role of just an aunt.

Lucky for me, she’s not the only mama bear who has adopted me. Enter my best friend in the entire world and her mom, the best cook ever. Y’all, her homemade spaghetti is a spiritual experience. Don’t get me started. The last two years of high school, I think I ate dinner at her house more than my own. I slept there almost every night too. When I thought I wasn’t going to be able to apply to a summer program at Stanford due to application fees, she saved the day. She does my taxes. And, as a nurse, she checks up on me and forces me to take care of myself (because even with 800 miles of distance, I’m still a little afraid of her). I love Mikaela’s family because they are my family; and they have taken me in so selflessly.

It doesn’t stop there. Senior year, I met Justin. Then I met Justin’s family. And before I realized what was happening, I had another family. I go to their family gatherings on holidays; I sleep at his mom’s house when I’m home; I even went to his stepfather’s family reunion (without Justin). I’m sitting at their kitchen table right now as a matter of fact. If you ever hear me mention my ‘sisters’, I’m talking about Justin’s. It’s kind of weird how at home I feel with these people whom I’ve only known for two years. But I do. It’s a nice feeling.

Of course, I’m thankful for my real family, as crazy and confusing as they are; I would not be the person I am without their influence. And I know they are always supporting me, even when we don’t talk much. I’m thankful for my dad and all that he’s done for me.  And I’m thankful for my cousins who treat me like their sister, and I’m thankful for my nieces and nephews, all of whom I love so much and constantly strive to set an example for. Whether they know it or not, they make me a better person.

For the sake of keeping this short(ish), I’ll stop there. Even though there’s so many more people I could talk about. My high school teachers who taught me a lot more than what was on the syllabus. My dance teachers who taught me not just to dance, but to love dance, and to love generously. Linda’s friends who always fed and loved me and let me play cards with them on Friday nights. The list feels endless.

So, obviously, I have a large family. I have a lot of people who love me and take care of me; even though they have no obligation to do so. And where in the world would I be without all of these people? I don’t know; I don’t wanna know. I know that I am a better, happier person because of them, though. And I am so, so thankful for that.

Happy THANKSgiving, y’all!

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