I am so lucky to have what I have. I have an incredibly supportive family, not just from the people living in my house, but from cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and distant second cousins, and fifth cousins three times removed (however that works...) that i just met but a week ago.
I'm surrounded by my mother's dysfunctional, hilarious family full of step cousins, half aunts, and crazy emotions, and my father's all catholic, tight knit, oddball relatives from all over the country.
Today, my mother, sister, dog, and I drive about 5 minutes west to my grandparent's house. We spent a lovely day swimming, boat riding, talking, and reading. My grandparents live on a beautiful, tiny lake. Their house is on the spot my great grandfather's camp was (although it was already renovated by the time I was born), where my mother and her sibling spent hours on the lake, doing the same thing we did today. I find it so wonderful to have something like that still in the family, making new memories while sharing old ones.
A similar thing with my father's side, also. A teeny, tiny town only about 2 1/2 hours from our home, sits my father's family camp right on one of the most beautiful lakes i have seen. (Though I've only seen a few.) The small house that my grandfather grew up in with his siblings, has turned into a renovated, extended (and even a new building a few feet away) family camp where each of my father's three other brothers and sisters (and their families) take two weeks to vacation. Again, old memories are shared while new memories are created on the sandbar, the tasty freeze, and in the middle of the upper lake surrounded by mountains. Always joking about how there is no civilization for miles (it's very true) I actually bask in the relaxation of no annoying neighbors, and phones not constantly going off (though i do miss television and internet!) But sitting at the massive dinner table, with sometimes over 15 guests, sharing old stories of my father's childhood. (My favorite stories are the ones about my grandparent's meeting (over 50 years ago on that same lake), how my grandfather bought my grandmother's engagement ring (in europe while he was in the army) and stories about my father's childhood pet (when he jumped out the car window while they drove down the highway! they got him of course, but they had to run down the shoulder chasing after him!))
In entertainment world, the stereotypical teenager hates their parents, and is embarrassed by them constantly, never wanted to be seen in public shopping with their grandma or having dinner with their dad, but i embrace every chance i get. My friends think I have the coolest parents ever (which I, actually, completely agree with... most of the time) and even when they do do embarrassing things (my father...) I just laugh along with them. How can you be embarrassed by your own family? I could go on and on about how much I love my mom, who is my best friend, my father, who is the oldest teenager I know, my cousins, who, without them, I would not be the happy person I am, and my sister, from whom I have learned how to control my anger (sometimes being only 19 months apart is TOO close in age..). Also how much I don't take them for granted at all. Again, the 'stereotypical teenager' will go on a spree when they receive money from their parents. Me? They gave me life, pay for my housing, food, (most) clothing, and put up with me day and night, so why should they be the ones who buy me everything my little heart desires? well they don't. and even when i got enough money to buy my first 'real expensive' something, a digital camera, my father helped me pick out the best brand, and when we finally bought it online with his credit card, when I went to pay him back, he wouldn't take my money. The money I worked hard to get. Not that I was complaining that he should take my money, but I'm just saying that he didn't need to do that. It was something I wanted, not needed, and i worked hard for. My father's just like that sometimes. But when I bring up the words CELL PHONE? absolutely not. which, I've learned, I've become alright with. Now, I pay for my own phone, I don't have to worry about using all my dad's minutes, and spending his money, and I feel more independent being able to pay my own bill. (So, even though I said I wasn't going to go on and on and on, I did anyway...)
Anyway, I just wanted to say, thank you Mom, Dad, Megan, and the rest of my family for giving me love and support for everything I do, for comforting me when other people get me down, for always being there for me when I need advice, and for encouraging me to be the best person I can be. At least, for now.
I love you.