Today is Independence Day, which has always been one of my favorite holidays. Typically, I get to see my extended family twice a year: Thanksgiving and the 4th of July. Cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles—it’s great! However, last Thanksgiving, about a third of my big family couldn’t make it, and today, due to alternate plans, our families are also not together. It’s strange to be anticipating the fireworks without my cousins by my side! But, instead, we’ve made sure to all make other plans. I went to my cousin’s high school graduation, and some of my cousins came to my brother’s graduation. My dad and my uncle got together for their birthday (they’re identical twins), and my sister and I took a trip to New York City with one of our cousins from Ohio. And my whole big family is going to meet up in Virginia in a couple of weeks!
The reason I’m saying all of this, is because family time is SO important to me. There have been times in my life when I honestly struggled to find reasons why I should keep going… other than my family. My cousins are my best friends and have often been the only people I could rely on. My immediate family has also been the only stable support structure I have ever known for any long period of time.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling so stressed that I don’t know what to do with myself, I just think ahead to the next time I will be with my family, and I start to feel better. Even when I’m not physically with them, I know I will be again sometime in the future. So it’s very important that I always have a plan of the next time I will see them.
Don’t get me wrong—we have our fair share of drama! But what family doesn’t? Even when we are having arguments, I’ve never once thought, “This isn’t worth it.” We will always forgive each other at the end of the day, because… well, we’re family.
I also know that I’m very lucky to have such a tight-knit family. We Fietes are almost painfully shy and are not typically the popular type in school. I think many of us went through periods of time when we would have felt completely alone, if not for each other. Some of my friends think it’s strange how family-oriented we are. One friend even refers to us as a “cult.” (Because we are a little different… Most of us “kids” have absolutely never had any desire to be rebellious or disobey our parents. For the most part, we don’t drink, swear, smoke, or engage in risky behaviors at all. We are extremely dedicated to each other and get defensive if anyone offends a member of our family.) I have seen so many friends deal with family issues that I’ve never seen the likes of. But… I believe that everyone can find a family. Sometimes, the people you’re blood-related to can’t be who you need them to be. But then I bet there are friends who can be your family.
Whoever your family is, embrace them. Find the people you love most and make time for them. Plan ahead! Give yourself a reason to keep going through the piles of work in front of you. And if you have family nearby, the 4th of July is a great day to spend together! Barbecues, music, fireworks, parades… perfect for family time!
When do you and your family make time for each other?
Sometimes just being in the same room as people who love you can make a difference!