Born 8 months and 22 days before me, my cousin, Yvette, has been with me through it all. She has seen the good, the bad, the exciting, and the disappointing. Despite living multiple states away, she was there. And today, I am here speaking to you all in honor of the day we’ve been planning for the past 9 years. Today, I would like to celebrate Yvette for not only turning 15 years old, but standing by my side for all 15 of them.
Yvette has always been such a big part of my life. We grew up as sisters because of the fact we were both the only daughters. However, we only ever saw each other once a year, from the second week of December to the first week of January. Nevertheless, I think I can speak for us both when I say these three weeks were the most anticipated of the year. We made the most of this limited time by doing everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, together. And when it was time to leave, I would sob 3 or 4 hours into the car ride home until I got over it and started the countdown for the next time I would see my other half.
The saying that defines us best is “opposites attract”. While Yvette was raised in the countryside of Georgia, I grew up out and about in the city of Chicago. And I think this balances us out perfectly. There was never too much city or country in our relationship which is probably why we have created a bond closer than our other cousins who all live in rural parts of Georgia as well.
Yvette has always been a person who brings comfort to others. Including me. For as long as I can remember, Yvette has listened to my problems and consoled me. The day I suffered the loss of a family friend, she was the only person who stayed by my side. She hugged me while I sobbed into her shoulder. She made it feel like there was no other safer place than right next to her. She has never judged nor made me feel like there was something I couldn’t tell her. She was my safe space when I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone else. She was there to dry my tears, when things fell apart. And without her, I can’t envision my life as it is now. What I do, and what I achieve is for her. It’s all to show her how grateful I am for her undivided encouragement to keep going.
I consider Yvette one of the biggest role models in my life. I aspire to be as welcoming and affectionate as her. She is someone that shows her kindness and doesn’t let others tear her down. She stands up for others when needed without hesitation. She has a daring soul that shines on our fearless adventures. Yvette is my guide. And without her, I’d be lost in the world.
Yvette is my safe place. She is the kind of person everyone should have in their life. Whether they come in the form of a sibling, a parent, a coach, or a friend, everyone needs someone there for them. Someone to talk to. For me, that person came in the form of a cousin. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Lizbeth Alcantar – Millbrook School – DMSF Class of 2027