Thankful || A Letter to my Cousins

Monday, November 23, 2015

It's Thanksgiving this week...and I want all of you ladies to know, I've been thinking of you quite a lot lately. 

All of those summers and holidays spent at Grandma & Grandpa's house...I am thankful for those times. Those were good times. I love being able to say that I grew up in a big family full of cousins to play with, and that my whole extended family was so close-knit.

For crying out loud, look how cute we were! :))
{And this isn't even all of us!}

I will admit, as we all got older, I had a tough time. I was definitely the cousin who was adopted. Even though the rest of you probably didn't actually remember that I was adopted {as in, it never needed to be mentioned}, but I think it was still pretty obvious. I had a lot of different personality traits from the rest of you. I was interested in different things. I was a pretty anxious child, as you will recall. I hated going on those wild tube rides with you because I was too afraid. For awhile, I was even afraid to swim with you on very wavy days in Lake Michigan because I was too afraid. I was never much of a "risk taker"...and I was sure that all the rest of you thought I was boring and "too safe". Looking back on it, I really do wish I'd had more of an open mind to pretty much everything.

Eventually, I got it into my head that, whenever I was around you, I had to change myself so that you would accept me. I tried to overcompensate for feeling left out by working EXTRA HARD to try and become a person you'd actually WANT to include. I did try too hard. It was quite exhausting actually. To this day, I don't know why, but I was so insecure, and so sure that I would never, ever be enough to be loved and PART of the rest of you. Even in age, I was stuck in between two younger, and three older cousins...and I didn't know where I fit. But I promise, this had nothing to do with any of you. It really was just all in my head. My anxiety. My constant self-esteem struggles. I can convince myself of any little thing sometimes, and I recreate things in my mind to be a lot worse than they are. In fact, I'm pretty sure I wasn't even capable of ALLOWING myself to fit in because of my self-sabotaging tendencies. You know...the vicious cycle of wanting to feel accepted, but then not feeling accepted because of being so certain that I am not worthy of being accepted. {WOW! Does that even make any sense at all?}

Just so you know...I don't feel that way anymore. Not even a little bit. 

OLDER COUSINS: I hope you know that I wanted to BE you! To be exactly like you! I was your biggest fan and greatest admirer. I wanted to read all of the books you were reading, listen to all the same music, watch the same movies, and do every little thing exactly like you did. In fact, I still wanna be you! We are all adults now, and the age gap has closed, and I'm glad for that. I'm glad we can all be closer.

YOUNGER COUSINS: I always wanted to be the person that YOU wanted to be. And, quite honestly, I'm sure I wasn't {again, always tried too hard...HA!}...but I want you to know that you are beautiful! And I hope you know that I am always, ALWAYS here for you now. Because it's so true...when you have a cousin, you have a friend for life! 

I miss all of you, and I wish we could spend more time together and less time "adulting" :))

This is a letter I've been wanting to write for a long time, but I wanted it to be "just right". And even now, writing it, it's not turning out exactly the way I wanted it to. But that's okay, because I think my point came across. Which is...I love you all so very much. I love who you are. And even though I really wish I could have connected with you more when we were young, we have so much more life ahead of us, and I cannot wait to keep connecting as adults!

Happy Thanksgiving, my cousins, my friends!
I am thankful for ALL of you!


Linking up with Emily over at Ember Grey Blog

A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey


  1. Such a very sweet letter to your cousins. What perfect timing and what a blessing to share this with them ;)

  2. aww this is great. I was quite close to my cousins when we were younger even though they were in Scotland and my family moved about (Army Bratt here!) but now it's just face book stuff, we've all grown up and moved on I suppose. x

  3. What fun cousins were! I come from two big families and this post took me down memory lane. Thanks!

  4. This is so awesome! I do not have any cousins I am really in touch with, but I love that my son is growing up close to his!

  5. Emily, I love you SO SO MUCH. Your wisdom and beauty pours out of you :) I am so very blessed to be your cousin and so happy that we are part of the same family. I honestly know there were times in our past where I didn't make your life any easier or my own insecurities were at play, keeping me from being there for you as an older role model the way I could have been. I am so proud of the woman you have become and are still growing as. You openness now and acceptance of yourself is inspiring to me. Thank you so much for sharing this, and I can't wait to see you tomorrow!

    p.s. speaking of looking up to me...I still remember your dad wasn't so happy when I started wearing eye-liner... he knew you'd want to start wearing make up too! haha <3