Research shows that the first few years of a child’s life are the most important for overall development. One of the most important aspects of this is the people with which a child is surrounded- family, friends, caretakers- they are all alike in the mind of a child. The key is consistency. Being around familiar faces who stick around and create positivity is vital in order to create a sense of love, belonging, and comfort in a child which can allow them to freely explore life and its many options whilst remaining confident that through all of life’s ups and downs, there is a home to which they can return no matter what- because family is the only “forever” love in the world, and the closest thing to magic there is.

Growing up, I was surrounded by a large family all the time. Not just my parents and sister, but my aunts, uncles, cousins, and even family friends who lived nearby and came over every weekend. We shared birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, and countless occasions together. Most importantly, we went to prayer together every week, and this is my fondest memory. I’ll admit that despite spending my entire childhood wishing for more siblings, I have always loved to spend time alone and didn’t have many close friends for most of my elementary school years. However, I always found comfort in the fact that I had a family overflowing with love waiting for me at my home, and this was something I learned to appreciate at a very young age. 

Both of my parents also grew up in a similar environment, if not with even more people, since their households also included their grandparents and five other siblings! By the time I graduated high school, I noticed that the days of always being surrounded by a lot of family members were gone (most of my extended family moved to other countries), and so was my childhood. In the near-decade since then, I have had ample time to be alone: not lonely, but happily alone. It is during this time that I have grown and learned the most and became the person that I am today. As I look to the years ahead, it is my greatest wish that my future children will one day be able to experience the family-oriented lifestyle that my parents and I were all blessed to grow up in, because it is a part of life that, unless experienced for oneself, is impossible to explain but absolutely worth it.


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