Hello, all…

My whole life people have always told me my family is not like everyone else’s family, and it has taken me majority of my twenty-one years to finally figure that out. Growing up, I thought it was normal for aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, even extended relatives to be gathered regularly—it was a perk of having a big family. And even my immediate family is big—there are seven of us—so there are always people around, people together, people laughing and joking, fighting and bickering, staying and going. I thought Sunday night pasta dinners were normal, Monday night music lessons were common, Friday night board games were usual. My friends would always tell me how lucky I was to be surrounded by such a close-knit family, how lucky I was to have people who stuck by me unconditionally, who cared about me and my well being. Blinding loyalty, they called it. Only when I stepped outside my home and wandered off on my own did I realize the bonds I have with my family weren’t “normal,” but really rather quite unique.

And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy school. I enjoy having independence and that freedom to make choices for myself, I enjoy experiencing life, growing and learning in only ways that would present themselves by having no one there to hold my hand. I enjoy meeting new people, branching out and finding my own paths to venture down, finding what interests me and what makes me happy—finding myself. And I enjoy the fact that my family has given me the opportunities to do so, despite sacrificing their own, personal wants, for me. It makes coming home to them all the more special.

But with this, it is hard being away from them. Being away from them means missing family meals, conversations, jokes…just the warmth and closeness of having someone next to you that actually, truly cares about you. My mom said to me a few weeks ago, when I was home for Easter weekend, “Nat, I never know what you’re doing down there. I want to be filled in on your life. I feel disconnected to you, with you not around.”

Mom, this blog’s for you. I know how much you hate the phone, and facebook and every other latest technology, but maybe you’ll read a blog. I figure starting a blog is a good way to keep in touch with my family, immediate and extended. So guys, this is for you too. I miss you!

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