52 Weeks to Gratitude

Week Three: Family

I am extremely grateful for my family. I was raised by two phenomenal parents. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for them.  I have the best big brother a girl could ask for. Seriously, he is 11 years older than me, and when he was a teenager, he didn’t mind his baby sister hanging around. How many teenage boys would say the same? Now I realize, I’m sure he used me at times to get the attention of ladies, but sometime it was just him and the guys, and he would brag about how his sister could slam dunk a basketball. He would pick me up and I’d drop the ball right through the hoop! It still brings a smile to my face when I think back to those memories.

I was always surrounded by people who loved me, my grandma Bateman, who was the strongest woman I knew. My aunt Nancy & Uncle Dick, who became like second parents to me.  Their two sons Eddie and Brian who were more like brothers.

My dad was one of 13 kids, so as you can imagine my dad’s side of the family is huge! I am one of 72 grandchildren. I have lots of cousins, there are naturally a few that I am closer with than others, and there I some I don’t even know!

My family expanded when I met Neil and I couldn’t have asked for a better family to marry into. His cousins are some of my best friends! His aunts & uncles are so much fun, and I love spending time with them! His cousin Caitlyn has become the little sister I never had, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much love I have for that young lady…she reminds me so much of myself when I was her age!  She has an outstanding love for God, and her faith shows that! She is turning into an amazing woman. I couldn’t be more proud of her!

Lastly, I need to include the people I consider a part of my family, even though they’re not blood. I have been best friends with Ashley since kindergarten; so naturally, our families became friends throughout the years. Growing up, Ashley and I were always at each other’s houses. Her dad still introduces me as his adopted daughter!  Neil’s best friend Brandon is like a brother to him, his family took Neil in when Neil was a teenager. They accepted me into their family immediately. There is no questioning that Brandon is my brother, he has become protective and we tease each other just as any brother and sister would. He will be Uncle Brandon to our children, and I’m so excited because I know without a doubt he will love them unconditionally, as well as the rest of his family. Neil’s other best friend, Jason…who has also become a brother to us! There isn’t anything in this world Jason wouldn’t do for us and vice versa. All of my female friends are like sister to me. If you read my blog titled Now & Then you know how much love I have for these special ladies in my life. I am beyond blessed to have such an amazing family who loves and supports both Neil and I!

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