I grew up in a small town on Long Island, New York with my parents and two sisters. My parents, sisters, and I are very close. We talk all the time. Chris gets frustrated when he puts down his phone and after ten minutes or so there are 30 new text messages in the family chat. I FaceTime with my parents every night, sometimes multiple times a night. My older sister has two daughters who we FaceTime with every couple of weeks. Aunt Mandy or Uncle Chris is always asked to read a couple of stories every time. My younger sister will call me on her way home from work to chat and catch up. Without a thought we'll buy plane tickets if my sister needs help with my nieces one weekend. We're always there to celebrate all the milestones of eachothers lives.
A plus to the close knit of my immediate family is that I am super close with my extended family in that they are basically my immediate family. My extended family all lived within 15 minutes of my house. I even went to school with some of my cousins. We basically grew up together. This allowed my family to be extremely close knit in that my cousins are like brothers and sisters to me. Our families went on vacation together every year including to Cape Cod, MA which became like our second home. I grew up going to my grandparents' house for Sunday breakfast with everyone. Any time that we are all together makes my heart so happy. It's like I never left NY and Chris fits right in. Holidays are my favorite as it's when we are all together especially now that we are all older with our own families. During holidays, you'll find all 30ish of us crowded in the kitchen or around the table with the nieces and nephews running around, laughing, shouting loudly, and having so much fun. Picture a New York Italian family and that is us.
A big part of my family are our vacations to Cape Cod. We've been going every year since I was seven years old. Last year, my parents fulfilled their dream and bought a house there. It's been amazing to have this home for all of us to visit every year. My mom even created a little play area in a walk-in closet with books and toys for all her grandbabies. We spend a lot of time up there with my nieces playing. If we're not in the play nook, we're on the beach. The beach is part of who we are. We always joke "you can never shake all the sand from your flip flops, nor the ocean from your soul."
But my family is also not just blood relatives. My best friends are also my family. We do a lot together and the way I am with my sisters and cousins is how I am with my friends. It's always difficult to leave NY when I visit, but at the same time I can't imagine being so far away from my best friends here. Our friends' children our nieces and nephews as well.