An open letter to my many families

So, to start off, I suppose I should explain where this is coming from. I’m not totally sure, but I guess I was thinking about all of the people in my life that have touched my heart in the most special ways. I consider myself to have multiple families. I do have a lot of blood relatives, but I also have several groups of people who have supported me over the years and have helped me become the woman I am today. And I don’t think the those people always realize how much they mean to me, and really have touched my life. So I’m going to use some of this free time I have over the summer before working to address that and show them my gratitude. I truly am blessed to have known each and every one of you, and there are so many people that fit into each family of mine that I’m really expressing my love and gratitude to almost everyone I have known over the years. So here we go: Dear Families…..

1. My immediate family

First I’ll start with the most prevalent in my life, my immediate family. That includes my wonderful parents, my amazing sister, and both of my dogs because yes dogs are family too.

Mom and Dad, I LITERALLY would not be the person I am today without your love and support (I even used literally correctly rather than just figuratively the way everyone does now which is ironic and doesn’t make sense). I love you guys more than my words can express, and I don’t know that I have always been the greatest at showing it but I hope you know how thankful I am for you.

Raegan, we haven’t always gotten along. We’re sisters, so that’s normal, but I also don’t know what my life would be without you. We may not be the closest of friends, but I hope we will be someday, and I hope you know how much I love and admire you and your strength. You are so talented, and beautiful, and you are growing up so fast to be an amazing young woman. I hope that you know that I will always be here for you, and I will always be your number one supporter (minus the music taste;) ). You have seen me at my worst, and my best, and you still love me. And for that I can never thank you enough.

My dogs have also played a pretty important role in my life. Jasper was my little guard dog from the day I was born. He was a part of my life for 14 and a half years, and I will never forget that little wiener dog. And then there is Molly. My ferocious little fluff ball. You are so sweet and crazy, not the smartest sometimes but I love you anyway 🙂 Molly you always cheer me up by coming and sniffing my face as if to ask what’s wrong when I am sad, and I love cuddling with you.

2. My extended family

This is a huge one. There is A LOT of family on my mom’s and my dad’s side of the family. They are all special in their own way, and I do love all of them. I don’t even know some of my extended family very well (whenever mom mentions random names she thinks I know but don’t) and some of them I haven’t seen in a very long time, but I love you all, and I hope you know that you are all still important to me. I don’t get the chance to tell you that as much as my immediate family, but I know you will always be there for me and I love getting to spend any time I can with you.

3. My church family

This family is huge. When I say church, I could talk about the whole church, the entire Christian community, but I’m actually talking about the churches I grew up with. That would be The United Methodist Church of Anoka, and Coon Rapids United Methodist Church. Some of my friends from Anoka I don’t see as much anymore, and we aren’t as close, but that community was just like a family to me. I only left because I wanted to get involved with a more active youth program past sunday school for middle school and high school. Thats when we went to Coon Rapids, when I was in 7th grade. We were immediately welcomed and I have several adopted family members within the church. Especially moms, including Cindi Foster, Sherry Wesdorf, Sheila Callahan, Jo Franta, Heidi Lamers, Sunni Cohoes, Kim Lynch, and Deb Mahoney to name a few 🙂 Also, my church has always been one of my biggest supporters when I am going through tough times, I can’t thank you enough for your prayers. Prayer is so powerful.

4. My Solid Rock family

So these people, the wonderful Solid Rock Singers, are actually also a part of my church family, but they are also a separate family in itself. Not because they are any better than the rest of the church, but I have grown closer to more of them since moving to that church in 7th grade. From our 3 hour rehearsals, to the lock-ins, to sleeping on the floors of various methodist churches, and the long bus rides for every mission trip. I love them so much. You guys taught me more about Christ, and how to be bold in my faith by singing praises to Him, no matter how great we sounded, the important part was always the message. I am sadly now an alumni, but I will come back to chaperone mission trips when I am old enough 🙂 I made some of my closest and lifelong friends in that choir, one that has really stuck around for me though is Amy. You were one of my first friends in the choir, and I love you more than you know. You are my sister. There is also Cassie, we weren’t always as close, but I remember when you and Jodi and I were inseparable. I love you like crazy girl. I was so sad when you went to school in Florida, but I’m glad you are back for the summer! Becky, you also became my adopted sister!! I love you so much little Becky, even if you’re now taller than me. Thomas, I will always consider you my adopted little brother too! 🙂 Cindi Foster was Cindi Mamma when I joined, and although she doesn’t direct us anymore she always will be. You always brought me to tears with your devotions and messages, your faith is so strong, you are one of my heroes and greatest role models. I’m always here for you guys if you need anything. I love you and you all hold a special place in my heart, and I mean everyone, even if your name was not mentioned. We are always going to be friends in the faith, but the better word I see for us is a family. You are my family and I love you.

5. My Dance Family

You guys. You guys are so important. I grew up at the studio that I will love forever and always identify with. I started going to Dancin’ Feet at 3 years old, and I am so glad my parents enrolled me in classes there. Some of my happiest memories are dancing alongside the amazing friends I have made there. I got to be a staff member volunteering with them for five years. I loved working alongside all of them. I worked the most with Lora, an amazing young woman who was actually my first dance assistant when I was three. I also took a lot of clogging classes with her and Lisa. If it wasn’t for Dancin’ Feet I wouldn’t have been introduced to clogging, and thank goodness I was. I love clogging, it is my favorite dance style, and I’ve tried almost all of them. There’s no feeling to match how I feel when I clog. Then there are the dance assistants I’ve become close with each year. Some of my closest friends came from that program, or a performance team which I also did for several years. I loved every second at my dance studio. That was my second home. I even had a three year old tell ask me once if I lived there. 🙂 It was almost like I did. Being there multiple times a week for several hours was the best way to end my school days though, and although it kept me extremely busy in high school trying to keep up with everything, I wouldn’t trade a second of it for anything else. I plan to go back. I will probably take a class next year again, and maybe I can teach sometime. I don’t know. But my dancing isn’t over, and my time with that studio also will not be ending any time soon.

6. My Best Friends Family

So you guys come from mostly school. High school or before. Lacy, Stephanie, Katie,  Brooke, and Hayley, you guys are my best friends hopefully forever. I love you guys. Katie, I can’t believe I’ve only known you since middle school and you feel like my sister. I mean maybe that’s what happens when we live together for two semesters 🙂 Also, Lacy, you welcomed me back into your friend group in high school, but you’ve been around since 3rd grade. Third freaking grade. There was a little gap in middle school when we didn’t really see each other, but I will always consider you my best friends. You share my love of coffee, and you are one of my only friends I can be sarcastic with all the time. I love our relationship. Stephanie, I haven’t known you very long at all, but you are one of the most devoted Christians I know, and I’ve loved getting to know you through school dances and bonfires on your driveway 🙂 And Brooke!!! Middle school friends, and you haven’t left me yet! That’s pretty awesome considering how much you know about me XD Even though you’re now in North Carolina, I’m glad we keep in touch. I’ve loved our trips to the state fair, and every sleepover consisting of talking for hours and late night movies. Hayley!! I’ve known you since fourth grade, and although there were times when we also grew apart, we became the best of friends again in college this year! I don’t know what I would have done without you this year, freshman year was rough but we did it!!! Thanks for always being there, all of you. You have seen me at my worst, and my best, you laugh at my lame jokes and accept my extraordinary strangeness. I love you all.

7. My Camp family

Camp. I am so glad that I am a camp kid. I’ve been to a few camps, but I’m talking about the camp I’ve been going to since about middle school now. I don’t know if I have permission to use the name so I’ll just keep talking about it without that. I have been there every summer except one since middle school. I get to go back and be a counselor all summer this year too, which is the best job ever. Hands down. I’ve mentioned it before, it’s truly the happiest place on earth. They helped me find God there, and really build a true relationship with Him. I can’t thank that camp enough for what they have done in my life. They truly shaped me as a woman, and a leader. The CILTs I graduated with will all be my sisters in Christ forever, and I love them all so much, as well as our two fearless leaders, Paz and Toro (using camp names) I am so blessed to be a part of that place. Also, my friends there are lifelong. I mean that. I hope I never lose touch with the amazing people I have met there. We all may come from totally different places, but we all unite to praise one God every summer and every summer I’m more amazed by what God does there and how he touches each person I see.

8. My Cru Family

This is my newest family, that I am blessed to be getting to know in College! Cru is a campus ministry that is non-denominational, and I love being a part of it. I joined because of a camp friend, and I am so glad I did! I don’t know how I would have survived my freshman year without those amazing people.

My bible study, you are probably the most important in this family for me right now, I didn’t meet a ton of people outside of our study, but the ones I did were great too. I have the BEST leaders Danica, Katelynn, and Amy. I love you all so much. I am so blessed to have spent every week with you, cramming twenty + of us into a double room. I can’t wait to continue getting to know all of you, and it’s only been a few weeks but I already miss you all like crazy. Thanks for making my freshman year bearable and full of laughs and love.

I think this covers most of them! Oh, except my daycare family, my daycare lady since I was 3. Judy and her family have become my family too, and I am so glad that you were the person taking care of me when my parents worked a lot. I also wouldn’t be who I am today without you and your beautiful family.

Okay so in total I suppose I have 9 giant families?? That’s a lot! I think that covers it though! I hope some of you from each one reads this, and realizes how much you mean to me. I love you all to the moon and back. Or infinity and beyond. Whichever one you prefer. 🙂

Much love always,
Chloe

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