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Dear Family

A Letter to my Patient Family,

There’s nothing like the smell of pancakes on a Saturday morning, syrup dripping over their sides. Seriously. Or the sound of cards shuffling on a tabletop, each one scraping across the next. The boisterous laugh of a lively aunt filling the room, or a collective gathering for a prayer over dinner. Nothing like it.

There’s nothing like the sound of family.

Dad once told me that family is your spine, there to hold you up and keep you in place; Mom once told me that family is your heart. Okay, both of those statements were a lie—my parents never related family to anatomy. That would be weird; they’re not that sentimental.

But one thing they always, always reiterated to me time and time again was that family was forever. And you weren’t allowed to be mad at family, at least not for longer than a few moments. Forgive and forget, let them make their choices. One thing that they believed in was always being there for family, no matter what. To put on armor and stand up for each other. To accept each other’s passions and quirks, and share in those passions and quirks with them.

Lord only knows how many times I’ve carted my laptop along to family functions, sat scribbling away in my notebook with my headphones in my ears, constantly scrolling through Pinterest for a new book idea. Only the Lord knows how many times words directed at me have fallen on deaf ears, because my book characters were too busy shouting in my head. And I know not everyone understood it, but they were there for me, supported me, and gave me my space. They didn’t poke fun, tell me to put the laptop away, or belittle my passion. They were patient, and they put on their own armor and stood up for me, shared my passion with me.

I’ve been blessed with a very, very loving family. I’ve been blessed with an amazing cousin who sits and lets me talk her ear off about novels, with an aunt who likes to press my ‘q’ key over and over again, allowing me to reset my brain, and with a grandma who always jokes about me writing a book about our loud, animated family. And maybe one day I will, write about each of our journeys, our jokes, and our crazy movie-quoting abilities. Or their crazy movie-quoting abilities. We all know I wasn’t really “a part of the family” until I was 17 because I hadn’t watched the Star Wars movies.

But those stories, until I write that book, will stay between us. And I’ll be forever grateful that I get to go through life with each of you.

(And if you notice a book character in one of my novels resembles you, it’s probably a coincidence. Probably.)

With much love, and a full heart,

Sarah Sutton

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