Warning: I'm feeling all sentimental and stuff.
I went to Joy's Uncle and Aunt's place for American Thanksgiving tonight with Joy and Rebecca. It was so nice. Great food and just such a nice, funny, and giving family! I really appreciated them inviting both Rebecca and myself into their home and allowing us to be a part of their family time. Us ladies (our favourite word!) had such great chats in the car on the way out there and the way back.
It just got me thinking how grateful I am for friends and family.
Friends are those people that you can be completely candid with. You can share how you truly feel, what you are deeply struggling with, and all of your insecurities. They do not laugh at you, only with you. They do not use your secrets against you as ammunition in a disagreement. They support you and help you to come to conclusions in your life, all the while showing sound judgment in their responses. These are the people that cheer you on when your world feels like it's crumbling like an avalanche, and you feel weighed down and heavy. Friends pick you up and help you stand, and sometimes even shoulder some of the load for you. How amazing are friends, really? I know that I couldn't do what I do every day without the support of amazingly giving and sincere people behind me. To all of my friends (past, present, and future) -- I adore each and every one of you, often for very different reasons, and I thank you for the part you have played in my life thus far, and will continue to play until I am an old woman.
Family. Family often play the role of friend when you need them to and also play the role of those crazy people you are sometimes slightly ashamed to admit are your 'next of kin'. Family members have the power to build you up and also tear you down like no one else in your life could. Family members know how to make you angry with just a word, and know how to make you extremely happy as well. I am so blessed to have the amazing family that I do. I have this wondrously large and complex family structure filled with half-siblings, step-siblings, parents, step-parents, grandparents, and all the rest of the extended families that branch from there. These people mean the world to me and again, each and every one has their place in my life and in my heart that could not be filled by any other. Though we fight, make each other cry and want to scream at times, there is an inexplicable bond of love that only a family member could possibly feel for another. For this feeling of unwavering, unconditional and complete love, I thank my family. And know that love is reciprocated every day, no matter how far away you are.
I encourage everyone to hug a family member or friend when you read this. If hugging is not your thing, just express your love for them in whatever way you can. Show people you love them consistently. We are never guaranteed tomorrow, and there is no better way to show your true self than to love another completely, despite any perceived faults. Much like a garage sale is one man's junk and someone else's treasure; what you see as a fault could be someone else's favourite thing about that person.
Shoulder someone's burden, if even for a little while. Be in relationship with one another. Love one another.