Let me brag on my huge, supportive family

Around September, I start to miss my extended family. But I typically only have to make it through a few more months till Thanksgiving to see my relatives, and then I’m okay for another year. This year is unique, but we’re finding ways to connect in the midst of the pandemic.

We grew up close, celebrating every federal holiday together, some of us even attending the same church, and that support network has been so formational and sustaining even now.

I remember one Thanksgiving, Aunt Carol mentioned in passing how blessed we were to have the kind of support system we do, since not every family has that. Until that point, I’d taken it for granted, but her words rang true.

In fact, Aunt Carol believed in that supporting love so much that she started “adopting” young adult men who needed families. We have several friends like the Brilliants who have been a part of the family for way longer than I’ve been alive, and they’re as much a part of our family as well, so shoutout to Keith and Rosanne.

For a photo tour of my 2015 Thanksgiving, click here!

Happy Thanksgiving. May you be blessed with abundant love.

Keep reading to hear why I’m proud and thankful to be Bennett.

Bennetts have each other’s backs.

My cousin Jenn lives with her husband Pat in Texas, and I don’t know them very well since they’re closer to my parents’ age, but when I had a long layover, they picked me up so I could sleep at their house, fed me hot chocolate, gave me a much-needed massage, and sent me on my way with a gift!

We may not all see each other every single holiday like when we were younger and more concentrated in New England, but we still love each other and will support each other no matter what.

Ryan and Jet. PC: KSB

Even with distance, I still communicate with one cousin or another every day. Elizabeth regularly texts me to say she’s praying for me. Daniel and I have kept up on snapchat since we formed more of a friendship last year. Nicole and her toddler call on occasion, a few of us have a small group chat, and some of us have a round robin letter.

They go the extra mile, too, in case the initial travel example didn’t make that clear. Su sent me a package of stuffing for Thanksgiving, for instance, because I am isolated this year and adore stuffing.

Jet reads me stories to put me to sleep when I’m struggling and once had food sent from New England to the Midwest when I was too tired to cook. She began the round robin letter and is honestly the best addition to the family I could have imagined or asked for.

The other day in a group chat, I shared that I had been bragging on my family to some new friends I’d made — another collection of cousins that is honestly awesome, too. One person texted back that she’s proud to be a Bennett, and another cousin asked us to share why exactly we always say that, since it’s a shared sentiment.

I’ll answer here: I am proud to be a Bennett because of our strong family bonds. With over 80 of us, we have a wide variety of ideologies and beliefs. But even when we disagree, we are respectful, and most importantly, we love each other fiercely.

Distance and time do not affect that love; we will always be there for each other at a moment’s notice, and we will always welcome others into our family when they need a place to belong.

Uncle Allan exemplifies this perhaps better than anyone else. He always texts his nieces to remind us that he loves us; shows extravagant displays of love like taking me on a road trip through the West or Becky on a motorcycle tour; crafts beautiful, handmade gifts based on our interests; and dotes our foster cousins. It honestly reminds me of Jesus.

man stands looking at a lake and snowy mountains
Road trip with Uncle Al. Lake Jenny, Grand Tetons. PC: KSB

Because the supportive family environment I was blessed to grow up with, or perhaps simply because I am a human, I create psuedo-families wherever I go, carving out spaces for belonging around the country and world. I’m also grateful for these friends and families.

Today and every day, I am thankful for my family and proud to be a Bennett.