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TCT’s The Countless Thanks 2021: Amelia DiBenedetto

Dad – for being my rock 

As a toddler, my favorite parent was my mom, no doubt. I clung to her side like glue. But as I grew up, I molded into a “Mini Joe.” Our humor is identical, and our comments toward people, our social abilities, and everything is so alike. 

Whenever I need a laugh, you’re my go-to. Spending time with you can get on my nerves a lot, you try to outsmart me and bust my chops, but overall, any experience we have together is a blessing. Standing out on your deck together, trying to stare at the pink moon in silence with a simple song playing in the background was a meaningful experience that meant a lot to me. 

Not everyone is as lucky to have a loving father-daughter relationship as us, and I’m beyond grateful to be able to have this. Our little bets and competitions, me proving you wrong, our very rare walks together—everything with you is a special moment, and I thank you for the loving life you’ve given me. I love you. 

Mom – for being the oddest yet kindest woman I’ve ever met

Your bright and bubbly personality inspires me every day. You’re the woman that I look up to and admire so dearly. The kindness you spread to all is inspiring, regardless of who they are or how they treat you. The way you’ll volunteer for anything in a split second and dedicate all your time to Olivia and me is amazing, along with the way you’ll give up simple objects to Olivia or me. The way you can talk to anybody and everybody, everything you do leaves me awestruck. 

Your personality is beyond strange—the way you hiss randomly, bust out dance moves out of nowhere, and gift Sydney with soap after soap while giggling. You are the weirdest person I have ever known, and I love you for that. Thank you for being someone I can tell everything to, I love you. 

Olivia DiBenedetto – for crying over a bee with me

We’ve been told our whole lives, ‘You’ll be best friends when you’re older!’ And although we haven’t reached the best friends mark, and I tried so hard to brush those people off, we have grown to be closer siblings than I would’ve imagined. 

You tell me everything—sometimes I wish you wouldn’t. I know I can come to you with any problems. Though we hated each other when we were little, I’m so grateful to have another person to handle Mom and Dad and someone I can trust with all my issues. 

We both know we’ll never live down the day we cried over the bee in that car, the picture sits in my camera roll mocking me, and although it’s one of the most embarrassing moments, I thank you for all the memories you’ve helped create with me through the 15 years I’ve lived. 

Ganny and Poppy – for being the grandparents who give undivided attention to me 

Olivia and I are your only grandkids, and the love you give to us is pure and powerful. Being with you guys is one of my favorite parts of the year, and I wish we could see you two more often. 

Ganny, with your crazy, silly personality, you don’t put up with anything. You’re a woman I look up to, always standing up for what you feel is right, no matter how rude it may come off. I never knew about your adventurous side until this summer; I was shocked to my core by all the crazy things you did when you were younger, yet I admired it. 

It isn’t a good morning without you sending your daily Bitmojis to Olivia and me, and I apologize for the lack of response. 

Poppy, with your passion for history, reading, and your heritage, you could talk to anyone about anything relating to history, and I find that admirable. You love all things academic, and it’s amazing to see how you light up when talking about history, Italy, family, and your writing class. 

Sometimes, I would love to be able to sleep without you barging into the room, but would it be a New York visit if you didn’t?

You two have shown me love in distance, and I want to thank you for caring for me 12 hours away. 

Mainey – for being the most delicate woman whom I love truly

Literally delicate is not the way to describe you; you are a tough cookie who I admire so dearly. You have the sweetest and most positive soul ever, and I can’t imagine what would happen if it broke. 

I love our girls days where we go to the same mall and now Ikea! I love spending time with you and hearing your infectious laugh, it’s one of the best sounds in the world. 

I still don’t believe you’re a vegetarian, but I’ll pretend for your sake. 

You and Greg could not have been more fit for each other. You two are the definition of soulmates, and I hope for a relationship as perfect as yours when I’m older. 

Thank you for listening to my rants on the phone, being such a sweet woman, and caring for me 12 hours away.  

Nanny and Funny – for being two kind-hearted people

Although our relationship has never been strong, I cherish both of you so much. 

Nanny, you have one of the kindest hearts a person could. You foster and adopt Goldens, teach students, and feed all those deer! You speak with such love and kindness in your heart, and I admire that. You have never failed to make me feel loved and cared for, and I appreciate you!

Funny, you’re an interesting man. You tell stories like no other person I know, and I love how you’ll laugh at your own jokes. I love to sit and listen to you talk—when you’re not lying to me about your chocolate stash or forgetting my birthday. I still have that picture of us sitting on that porch swing, and I will forever be grateful for that beautiful memory. 

Thank you two for being a major part of my life, although so far away. 

Sydney Kok – for being the new girl in 7th grade

You’ve been with me almost every day since May of 2018, and time has flown by—all the memories, inside jokes, and even the fights. I’ve known you as the girl who wore only skinny jeans, loving weird colored converse and having a side part, to the girl who wears “flared” jeans, Air Force 1’s, and finally listened to my middle part advice. 

You take out my trash, help me with math homework, make my bed, and pack my suitcases for me. You’re always giving a helping hand and are always so kind to me. Although we’ve had arguments and grudges with each other, you’re always there in the end, and I mean always; you’re in my house 24/7.  Thank you for being that new girl in 7th grade who gave me a chance. 

Chiara – for being my second-grade buddy 

Since second grade, you’ve been there for me. Yes, we had a two-year gap when we weren’t in the same class, but we were still friendly even then.    

You’re always so bright and chaotic when we’re together and can bring such positivity into my day. You never hesitate to reach out for help, with friends and teachers, and I admire that. 

I remember being so happy I was taller than you in 6th grade, my best accomplishment. But then, in 7th grade, you were 5’6, and I was still 5’4—finding that out was a stab in the heart. 

I want to thank you for all the memories you’ve given me, and I wish you’d reach out to me more! Thank you!

Madi Evans – for being the Sagittarius 

I never liked you. You seemed like a girl who would talk poorly about everyone for no reason, and you always complained. When I saw you were in my 3rd hour, 5th hour, and then my 6th hour and sat next to me, I was pissed. When you started talking to me, I’d brush you off. Another reason I knew I didn’t like you was because you’re a Sagittarius sun. I know, shallow of me. 

But when I actually got to know you, although you still always complain, you’ve become someone I can trust. You listen to me rant, don’t give me good advice, and overall, are always there for me. You’ve truly shown you’re the life of the party—a true Sagittarius. I love and thank you for becoming such a close friend in such a short time.

Norah – for being the bubbly girl 

You never fail to give off positive energy when with people. You always keep a smile in front of your friends, and you always make me feel loved. 

Whenever we hang out, even if it’s just sitting in your room, you can always make me laugh, and we have a good time. The way you admire my room, offer help whenever I need it, and just being the yellow character, it’s all so amazing. 

I know sometimes we get into big arguments and I say some things, but never forget, I love you so much. Thank you for being a light in my darkness whenever I need you! 

Mahta – for being my 7th-grade math partner 

The fact that we ignored each other completely in Natural Expressions first semester is funny. We sat right next to each other and just never spoke a word. 

When second semester math began and we sat next to each other, that’s the first time I ever said anything to you. 

You’re definitely not the person I thought you’d be, you’re better. You’re such a fun person to be around, and you have the craziest energy I’ve ever seen. You’re an interesting soul, who I love so much. 

From when you walked into Lowe with no mask on last year, to what your shirt said at my party, you’ve been nothing short of a hilarious person. Thank you for all you’ve done for me and for being an absolute goof. 

Veronica Vincent – for being the only other girl alone at girl scouts 

I sat in your kitchen as the only seventh grader in your girl scout troop. I sat in your car, holding on for dear life as your mom swerved on the ice, quietly observing. Eventually, your mom forced us to pair with a buddy at Downtown Market, and we had to partner up. 

After that troop ended, any conversation we had did too. 

But my freshman year, you contacted me asking me if you could write a profile on me, and after that, we became close friends. 

I’m so thankful to have you in my life. Even though you take hours to answer, you always give me great advice. You never fail to make me laugh and give off positive energy. Thank you for being here for me and for being such a fun, lively person.

Sophie Erickson – for being the girl who can’t spell “Aiden”

In 5th grade, we considered ourselves friends. We were roomie 1 or 2 and homie 1 or 2 (I can’t remember). But after 5th grade ended, we drifted apart until this summer. 

When I first saw you at Jungle, you were in the 4-6 class and were leaving. We waved, maybe passed a smile, but no actual conversation. Until, all of the sudden, you kept appearing at the 6:30-8:30 class with me.

Eventually, we sat with each other and Aiden, and we became close friends. I can’t imagine making fun of Aiden with anyone else, playing tennis with anyone else, or watching those awful driving instructor videos with anyone else. 

Thank you for making me laugh, playing tennis with me, sharing a “bond” with Aiden and I, and giving me bright energy to admire. 

Sophie Reavis – for being the girl leaving me

I’m so grateful for you. Since 8th grade, you have always been there for me and always listen. No matter what time it is, I know I can reach out and talk to you without starting arguments or getting invalidated. 

It breaks my heart that you’re leaving for Lansing soon and we won’t be able to see each other a lot—we barely do now. I wish we took advantage of the time we had so close together, but I’m so excited for you to start a new chapter somewhere else. Thank you for listening to me, caring for me, and being there for me no matter when or where.  

Claire Mast – for being the girl that is so kind

Ever since the 5th grade, your heart has been so kind. You’re always positive and caring no matter the mental state you may be in. You can laugh at anything, even jokes about you not having a phone, and you help whoever you can, with math or anything. 

I’m beyond grateful to have reconnected with you through Jungle and geometry class this year, and I want to thank you for walking with me in the halls after lunch, gifting me with your bright energy and gentle heart, and for being there whenever I need you, especially in math. 

Kate – for being my favorite ASL buddy

Meeting you in 5th grade, you were a sweetheart. You’d laugh at everything, help everyone, and always keep a smile on your face. 

Even now, five years later, you’re that same girl, and I admire you for that. I can’t understand how you stay so kind-hearted and loving every single day I’m with you; it’s a gift. Your yellow aura creates a warmth for anyone you’re with, and I know they all love you. Thank you for keeping such a positive attitude, laughing with me, and being my favorite ASL buddy.

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