In these 16 years of living I have surely learned this: There is NOTHING like a barbecue with the family in Philly or a crazy game of Taboo in the living room of your aunt's in Florence. Trust me, I know.
When growing up, I never really saw the point in spending time with the family. I've always been a really independent person who just wanted my own space and be able to travel by myself. Since birth, it feels like my family has been giving me lectures and at times kept me in the house all day involuntarily. And, of course, their habit of protecting me and asking me a thousand questions about some guy became really annoying.
But you know what? I'm at a point in my life where I am mature enough to say thank you.
Thank you for every time my uncles made me laugh, every moment my sisters made me cry, every time my mother told me no, and every moment they corrected my improper grammar, because it made me a better person.
It made me love longer, it made me wiser, it taught me discipline and it ultimately made me stronger than I was the day before.
So what that they get on my nerves sometimes? They are going to be FAMILY no matter what. These people will be there for me through it all and they're the roots of my life because they have been family and loved me since day ONE.
"I love you, Auntie," is what I said after giving my Aunt Erika a kiss on the cheek because at that moment I realized her importance in my life and the fact that, one day, I won't have the chance to do that. So PLEASE don't miss a family outing or vacation to hang with some friends because you will regret it, and never go to sleep upset about something they did. Talk it out, and get it right because just like you only have one life, you only have one family.
I love my family.