This Thanksgiving break, I was blessed to be able to go to Myrtle Beach with my parents and spend time with my uncle (who is my mom’s twin brother), my grandparents, and 3 out of 4 of my cousins (Tiara – age 22, Bodi – age 20, and Hunter-Bailey – age 14. Erin – age 28 was out of town) on that side of the family. My uncle recently moved in to a condo, so there were 8 of us sleeping in two beds, two couches, and the living room floor (guess who got the floor? Yep. Me and my 14-year-old cousin Hunter-Bailey). Sleeping arrangements and all, I had a wonderful time. I don’t really get to see this side of my family very much because they live so far away, but when I do, we just pick up right where we left off and have such a great time together.

On Thanksgiving day, we woke up early for the annual Myrtle Beach Grand Strand Turkey Trot. My parents and I ran the 8k and my uncle and his girlfriend ran the 5k. My mom and I stayed together for the whole 5 miles, but my dad was ahead of us. Somehow, we all finished in the top half of our age groups. Woohoo! I am really glad that running is an activity that my family can do together (plus-running a race made me feel much less guilty about how much I ate later on that day!). After the race and breakfast, my cousin and I took a wonderful nap in my uncle’s big comfy bed. We then went outside while our dads and grandpa were frying the turkey (in the parking lot…limited space calls for innovation). Finally, my other cousins came over and we all shared a meal together after which we talked, laughed, took pictures, and reminisced. I loved having my whole family together and being in such a small space made the closeness even better.

When I got home from the beach, we had yet another Thanksgiving meal at my other grandparents’ house. I was sad that my cousins and brother were not able to be there (my brother is in Japan because he is in the Marines, my cousin Sean is in Texas for USAF Boot Camp, and my cousin Jenna had to drive back to UNCW). We still had a really great meal together and got to spend some quality time catching up. My grandmother has always done such a beautiful job of bringing everyone together around the table and creating a sense of familial community.

I think that being away at college has made me really appreciate how wonderful my family is and how much I love being around them and spending time with them. We may not agree on everything, but we have so much love for one another that our bonds trump our differences. So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful (among other things) for family.


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