I’ve been in the States for twelve days and I’ve already survived a natural disaster and made a phone call without hyperventilating. In view of those successes, I thought it fitting to take a moment to reflect on one of the most important things in my life.
There has never been a day where I didn’t love my family with all my heart. Of course I’ve wanted to punch my brother in the throat for being a mouth breather and I’ve rolled my eyes at my mum for being passive aggressive about me not having done the laundry. But I love the four people that make up the core of my family to bits.
I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for my family. There’s no way to know for sure, but I don’t think I’d be brave enough to live life the way I do. I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to cross the Atlantic with no safety net awaiting me on the other side. I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to start a life abroad. I just don’t know.
It breaks my heart to I read or hear about people whose families treats them poorly. My heart breaks for people who live in fear of their families not accepting them – of them mistreating them in any way, regardless of whether it’s physically, mentally, or otherwise. I wish I could share my family with each and every person in the world who doesn’t have the one they deserve. I want you all to be loved.
But for now, all I can think to do is appreciate my family. I don’t tell them how much they mean to me nearly as often as they deserve to hear it, so I thought I might tell them here, so the rest of the world can appreciate them too. Tissues at the ready.
Thank you for raising me to not squander money. When I was younger, I remember thinking, “This can’t possibly be that useful,” but in recent years, I’ve come to realise just how much of an advantage it is to know that rainy days will come and you need to be ready for them. But thank you for also teaching me that planning can only get you so far; that life only truly starts at the point where planning ends.
Thank you for showing me the importance of being optimistic. You’ve taught me that a little cake never hurt anyone and that you shouldn’t take life too seriously. But you’ve also taught me to stop worrying about all the bad things that could happen – to focus on all the good things that are happening. Your optimism in the face of the challenges life has thrown (and continues to throw) at you inspires me every single day.
Thank you for looking up to me and giving me a reason to be the best role model I could possibly be. You were about five when I realised that it mattered to you how I lived my life: you told me you wanted your hair to be as long as mine. It seems a strange turning point, but in that moment, I realised that I needed you to know that you could always look to me for support, but still have the confidence to be yourself. I hope I’ve pointed you in the right direction. I can’t wait to watch you find your feet.
Thank you for showing me just how much bullshit I can put up with. That sounds terrible compared to the deeply emotional comments I’ve written to the other three, but you’ve made me tougher than I thought I ever could be. The years of sibling fights (physical, verbal, and mental) have taught me to differentiate between the things that hurt in the moment and the things that hurt in the grand scheme of things. The ability to make that distinction is nothing short of indispensable.
The four of you mean the world to me.
Thank you for giving me wings to fly.