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An open letter to my family

For those who really know me, you know that I am a very private person. I do not share personal things about myself. If I share anything on Facebook it will, pictures of my family, things about my children's silly behavior, etc., but nothing really personal. This time I am doing things a little different. I have found that it's best to give people their roses while they are still alive. I want my family to know who they are to me. I do not want to have to express this at a funeral or I pass away and never have the opportunity to tell them any of these things. I want to talk with my family and express myself to them in this open letter.

I know many of you reading this will wonder why would I put anything concerning the family on the internet? I know you will ask, why didn't you just tell us this over the phone? I am doing it this way because I want to express myself to you in a way that you all have never seen me before. First off, I want to say that I love you all. In one way or another you all have molded me to be who I am. I have taken bits and pieces from each of you and became the woman you all know today. Everything said to me, good or bad, I have applied it to my life one way or another.

Kori - my oldest brother. I love you more than you will ever know. You have always been there for me even when you didn't agree with all of my decisions, like me moving to Arizona for my boyfriend at the time. I will never forget the advice that you gave me on my graduation day. "Don't let that "dude" (for lack of  better words) get you  caught up in no "mess". My young naive self had no idea what you were talking about, but I took those words with me and they turned out to be great advice in the end. You have always been the big brother "father" figure that I admire you so much. You have such a pure and honest heart and I am truly thankful for you. Although we do not talk as much as we should. I just want you to know that I thank you for who you are and love you so much!

Cynthia - my dad's youngest sister. One of the quirkiest people I know. I know that you love and you love hard. I also know you can be tough. You have been through so much in your life. I often wondered how you made it. You have a strength that so many people are jealous of, which is why you bump heads with people a lot. You are bold, you are out spoken and gentle at the same time. You may not remember this, but I remember as a child, staying the night at your house and you would be alone, crying and praying asking God to give you strength to raise your children by yourself. You were a young single mother, by no fault of your own. Regardless of what people thought of you, you still kept your head up and you still managed to put a smile on your face. I thank you for being you and I love you so much!

Joann - dad's third oldest sisters. You have always had been reserved, so beautiful, smart, fashion forward and educated. You were my role model. You are the one who took me under your wings and created a mini you...lol! One thing that I have always loved about you was your grace. You always did everything like a lady, even when you argued. I know that life threw a lot of curve balls your way and those curve balls took their toll on you, but you never gave up. I know lately, things do not seem as they should and you may feel a sense of loneliness, but God is with you always. He will never leave you. Even if you feel that he has left you, he has not. The only thing I ask of you is to not let this life get you down. Don't quit and don't give up. Whether you believe it or not, God still has some things he needs you to do and you cannot quit now. I know the woman of God you are and remember that God has his hand on you! I love you always!

Aunt Shakira - my dad's oldest sister. My fashionably, poised aunt. You are one who can read someone their rights and then tell them, you'll get over it, now come back here and have some fun with us...lol! Never bite your tongue, always keep it real and never dealt with the mess. I love you for all of that. I know I took a little bit of this fire cracker with me. I also love you for your love for black people. Always educating us on the truth, even when we don't listen, you will still make sure you do your part. I always called you a little "Madea". You got that fire in your soul the way she does and although everyone doesn't always see eye to eye with your tactics, I know that your intentions are in the right place. Thank you for being there for me on my wedding day, one of the most important days of my life. I am forever grateful to you and uncle Halif.  Love you!

Aunt Barb - my dad's second oldest sister. I love your wittiness about you. People would always say that you are the sensitive one, but I say it's because you have a big heart! Even though we all knew Christopher was your favorite, you always treated us (your nieces and nephews) fair and with love! You always looked way younger than your age. I remember the girls in the neighborhood would ask me where you got your clothes because they wanted your outfits...lol! You were always the life of the party, know how to have fun and enjoy life. You used to always say, "life is too short to be fussing and fighting all the time" and I live by this motto. Love you aunt Barb and keep living life like it Golden!

Madea - my dad's mom. I saved the best for last. (Not that you all aren't the best, but you know what I mean). You are my second mom. You took me and Kyle in, when no one else was able to. You loved us like your own and did everything you could for us. I thank you for your resilience, your strength, your boldness and toughness. You raised me to take no mess from any one, to always be a lady, how to be submissive and to walk with my head up. You encouraged me to go to school and get an education and to not trust no one or anything but God. You made sure that we had the foundation we needed to make it through this life. Even though you had a tough love approach, you taught me how to survive. For everything that you have done, I appreciate you. I love you with all of me and everyday, I thank God that you opened your heart to us. There are not enough thank yous in the world to show my gratitude.

I cannot mention all of my family, there are too many of you to thank, but I do want to make honorable mentions. My family in Texas! Uncle Freddy for having the heart to take me and my brothers to Texas after our dad left. Even though you weren't able to, I know in your heart you wanted to raise us as your own children and I will forever love and thank you for that!

My cousins Nita and Vette for always making sure Kyle and I looked presentable with the latest styles. You always took us shopping to make sure we didn't look "homely" lol! I thank y'all for looking out. Nicky, thank you for always being there. You were our first baby sitter, even though you never got paid for it! You still did it and made sure that we were ok.

You all and many more had a hand in who I am today and for all of that I thank you and I love you from the bottom of my heart.

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