I am thankful for…

Most people who know me, know I have a big family.  When you have a big family, you love more people.  But you hurt more as well when you know they hurt or when you lose one of them.  In my family, my childhood hood was spent with specifically 5 cousins, and 1 sister.  At times I felt like I had 2 sisters and 4 brothers.  We were that close in age, but we forged a special bond because of it.  I am the youngest of the 7 of us that grew up together.

Growing up with this family, I’ve seen a lot, heard a lot and experienced a LOT.  It’s in this microcosm of the larger family that I learned to characterize people’s strengths, weaknesses and flaws.  Mine included.  We are all so different and you had to learn to accept the differences when other people couldn’t accept it themselves.  In this space I could be just me and still be loved.  Me, being the youngest, was protected and comforted, I can’t say that for those who were older.

One of my uncles, father to one of my cousins once told my sister and I that he liked to see that we are throwing the parties now (birthday parties for the kids, wedding showers, baby showers..etc..) and that we (the cousins) had stayed close.  No matter what our families went through, the battles and drama with one another, the cousins stayed as close as they allowed themselves to get and my uncle appreciated that.  I think he feels the same way about his brothers and sisters, it was important to stay connected to each other.  It’s how I was taught the definition of “family”.  Family like marriage is never easy.  Hell no and no way is it ever easy!  You have too many different people, personalities, views, and paths to be “easy”.  But you make it work.  That’s what family is about.  It’s about not being perfect because you know it’s impossible to be.

Yesterday when I heard my cousin had cancer and they had to remove a part of his thyroid to get it out I was in shock.  He’s only a few years older than me.  You could see the look on Josh’s face too, mortality is a reality the older we get.  Josh and I have been trying to get healthy (and we fail many times, but we still try) and with the news last night, I’m more determined to be healthier.  I still haven’t had kids and I want them!!  πŸ™‚

Then I cried because his mom had died of lung cancer years ago.  My other aunt died of lung cancer months after Bobby’s accident and our family has taken hit after hit with death.  But another thought entered my mind…the night I sat in the hospital room, holding Bobby’s hand even though he was already gone.  I sat holding his hand crying I think…my memories are foggy because I don’t like to remember…but I do remember my sister calling everyone about the news.  I remember they started letting my family into the room and it was them…the seven of us minus one because Lily lives in Daly City, CA.  Them and their children who we’ve all helped raised.  They were there in the room, giving me hugs, rubbing my back…it was them, the cousins I was raised with, again, trying to protect me and comfort me. That’s family.

So today when I woke up and I took at shower, I did something different in my prayers today I said:

photo via Southtown Star

Thank you God, for my parents, sister, brother-in-law and my nephews.  I pray for their health and happiness.  I love them all.

Thank you for Josh and my new chance at love and our upcoming marriage.  Thank you for the house you blessed us with and the dogs that bring us joy.  Thank you for giving Nani-Girl to me even if it’s for just ten days.  Thank you for Sky who makes me laugh and smile each and every day!

Thank you for the good news of my cousin Teddy that he is cancer free, may his procedure tomorrow go well and I pray the results on monday come back good.  Thank you for his wife who takes care of him and his daughters that love him.

Thank you for the family I have, the memories I’ve created with them, the childhood and experiences you’ve given me.

Thank you for the time you gave me with Bobby who was a joy in my life (and I laughed and smiled when I said this one…thoughts of Bobby always make me laugh!) and for him knowing that I would need Sky one day to make me smile.

Thank you for my friends, the ones I’m close with and those I’m not.  I cherish every one of them because I love the experience of getting to know them.

Thank you for every opportunity you have thrown my way because despite some hard times, my life has had many GOOD times and it’s been a great ride.

Thank you for my life and all that I have.  I am grateful.

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