Dear Kranz Family,
You know, when I first started this, I didn’t write a list of people I would write to. Then, a few letters in, I sat down to make a list. It was harder than I thought to come up with 40 influential people in my life. You’d be surprised, just try it.
At that point, I actually considered writing to each of you individually, just to pad the list. But, in truth, your influence on me came more as a family than as individuals. Growing up, you were our family friends. Well, you still are, I suppose, but it was different then. Frank and Kathy, you are my parent’s best friends and your kids were our friends. It’s funny how we expect our kids to get along just because the parents are friends. I think we got very lucky that we all actually like each other.
Spending time with your family always felt like watching my own life in a mirror. That sounds weird. Let me explain. You were the only family we knew like ours. Lots of kids, close together in age, family vacations, weird jokes, etc. Most of my friends, nope, all of my friends came from smaller families. They didn’t have the background that my family did. They weren’t wild and crazy on weekends. They were quieter.
You guys were not. You were like us. So watching you helped me to see how others saw us, but more importantly, it helped me see my own family more clearly. That’s an invaluable gift. I still use that “mirror” these days. Sometimes I look at your family and think it is so perfect, but then I look closer and see that you’re still a family, you still bicker and fight, and sometimes things aren’t perfect. And I feel better, because my family makes more sense to me.
I know that’s a fairly convoluted way of saying thank you, but it’s an important quality that no other family on earth could have given us/me. Then you add in the mountain of memories we made growing up together and it is no wonder why we are all still friends as adults. When we all get together, it’s more of the loud, laughter, beer, giggles, memories, bickering, and in-fighting of the childhood, ringed with the love of two overwhelming and loving families. I’m glad to be a part of both of them.
Thank you for being part of my life,
Olivia (Liv – depending on which of you is reading this)
(to see why I am doing this, read here)