Five years ago this coming June an event occurred that has had a major impact on my life. My cousin, Mallory, moved from New Jersey to Florida to go to college. There is a significant age difference between us..I’m actually old enough where I could probably be her mother. She was actually one of the flower girls in my wedding. See. Wasn’t she so cute?
Like I said, there’s a big age difference. While she was growing up, I was getting married and starting a family. So, we didn’t really hang out like most cousins the same age do. Her moving to Florida gave us an opportunity to spend more time together and get to know each other in a different way.
We’ve had some pretty amazing times and I will cherish each memory created. From the concerts to the sleepovers with late night talks to the game nights. She is an amazing young woman who I am so proud to call my cousin, but even more proud to call my friend…one of my best friends. She has not only been there for me, but for my kids too.
I also had the honor of watching her bloom as one of my co-workers. She entered the medical field and proved to everyone what an amazing, capable young woman she is. She started a job in a field she never worked in before and killed it. Making friends and touching the lives of everyone she came into contact with.
The thing that has brought us so close is our love of reading and my writing. Mallory is my person. She is the first person to read everything I write — with the exception of this post. She has been a critical part of my writing process and I don’t think I’d be as confident to put myself out there if it wasn’t for her support. I’ve found myself through my writing and her support has been a big part of that. There doesn’t seem to be enough words, even for a writer, to express how much I will be forever grateful for the connection we have.
When I got married almost nineteen years ago I never would have imagined that the little flower girl who didn’t want to pose for pictures at the church and who cheered her father on after his reading would wind up being one of the most important people in my life. This amazing young woman is graduating this Friday and her journey is taking her out of the Sunshine State. I knew when she moved down here that she wouldn’t be living here forever but as the years rolled by I got so accustomed to her being here that the thought that one day she’d move on kind of floated to the back of my mind. As sad as I am to see her go, my heart is full of pride and happiness because I know that life has great things in store for her. I pray that she continues on her journey and follows her dreams. I will miss her more than words could ever say. I love you Mallory Sue. Always and forever. Always family. Always friends.