Some of the most invaluable amenities in life are often overlooked. Such is the case with me. Though I was born in 1988, I didn’t realize the best part of my life until 2006-and that was my family. 18 years of searching and it was all right in front of me the whole time.
I have always had a great relationship with my family. My love for them is evident in baby pictures, home movies, birthday cards, and many other tangible assets. But the realization of that love didn’t strike me until I left for college. I had taken the parenting, guidance, love, and comfort my parents provided for granted. Syracuse University was my number one choice to pursue my undergraduate career. There was nothing more I wanted than to call myself Orange. SU is no cheap school, and I realized that as soon as I unloaded all my personal belongings on campus and hugged my parent’s goodbye. When my parents were leaving, my mom turned to me and said, “do great things, Bridget.” At the time I thought she meant academically, but I now know that she meant to be a good person. As I unpacked family photos and other reminders of home, I understood that it would be impossible for me to be the person that I am without my parents. Though we have disagreed on many things in the past, it is clear to me that at the end of the day, their lessons and words that they have embedded on me is what enables me to be a great person and do amazing things. As I noticed the amazing opportunities laid out for me, I also noticed the sacrifices my parents made for me, and the ones their parents made for them.
My dad’s father had an eighth grade education and worked at a chemical plant to help support his family. My father’s mother had to work two jobs to help contribute. Both my father and his sister had a very close relationship with their parents and have nothing but positive things to say about both of them. Similarly, my mother’s parents worked together (both full-time) at a floral shop in Springfield, Mass. Though both sets of my grandparents worked long hours, they also provided compassion that became essential in my parent’s upbringing. The influence my grandparents had on my parents is evident in my upbringing. And I am no short of grateful for that.
My mother has always told me that no matter what, she will always love me. I’m sad it took me so long to realize how much family means to me, and how it has enabled me to aspire to be successful both academically and as a person. But I am glad that I understand, and I have I can give the love my parents gave me to my kids so they can be better people, and hopefully, make the world a better place.
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