As we grow up/older we learn new things about ourselves. We discover who we are and who we want to be. We realize at random times that we’ve changed. We’ve lived; learned hard lessons along the way to ‘growing up’.
Today I had a realization.
I grew up wishing and hoping for a brother or sister – or both! My parents tried for several years to have more children, but it just wasn’t meant to be. For most of my life I HATED being an only child. Not because I had a bad childhood, it was awesome never having to share my parents attention with anyone, but it was lonely and stressful as I got older and my parents health took hit after hit. I had no one to lean on. No one to share the stress. Some people have told me that it’s a blessing, but it’s easy to say that when you didn’t grow up this way.
Instead I grew up surrounded by a large dysfunctional extended family. Always envying the siblings as I was the only, only child in my family (both sides).
The envy never truly went away as I seen the siblings of my friends. Their relationships, good and bad, made me long for that closeness with someone. The ability to relate childhood memories, funny stories about your parents and each other. I’m not delusional enough to think it’s all rosy, I’m well aware of the bickering, fighting and down right nastiness that can and does happen between siblings. Doesn’t change the desire though as we all know, the good things and times in life always outweigh the bad.
God, Karma or whatever is out there, just wasn’t granting those hopes and wishes for me. There would be no brothers, sisters, nieces or nephews.
Or so I thought – until today.
Without me truly realizing it, my wishes, prayers etc were all very much answered. Almost 10 years ago.
I met a boy. He had a brother, niece and soon to be sister in law. The envy reared its ugly head yet again. Here was a guy who not only had a younger brother, but one who was very much his friend. I was downright green. As time passed, I got to know them better. Of course they were awesome. Like truly awesome.
Being a little older than I was, they were at a different point in their life than I was at a fresh 20 year old. Starting a family, buying a house, getting married – essentially settling down. While I was still unsure about what job I wanted! But they never really made me feel out of place. I looked up to them. I loved spending time with them, their children and looked forward to the holidays.
2 years passed, then 4, then 6 . . . and now here we are almost 10 years later. I’ve long since stopped calling them Vic’s family. They’re our family. They’ve never treated me as anything else. So it was only natural that when he (FINALLY) popped the question the first thing I knew was that they were all had to be play a big part in our day.
But it wasn’t until today as I drove away from visiting Gina at her first craft fair that I realized that my childhood wishes (and yes even prayers back then) were in fact answered almost a decade ago. I laughed out loud in my car and sent a silent thank you up to my sweet aunt, who no doubt had a hand in delivering on this one.
Vic has given me SO much over the last 10 years. I’ll never be able to adequately put into words just how much. But this post isn’t about our nauseating love (well somewhat), it’s about the fact that he has been the answer to all of my hopes and dreams. He hasn’t just given me a best friend who will soon be my husband, he has given me endless support, frustration, laughs, memories and absolute love every single day of the last 10 years – he has given me a brother, sister, niece AND nephew.
Because let’s be honest, that’s what they are. They’re mine as much as his. I look up to them, admire them, am sometimes mind boggled by their decisions and could sometimes strangle them (can we say Penny?!). But I wouldn’t change a thing. Because they’re OUR family. They may be ‘all we have’ (as Gina loves to say), but they’re all we need.
They’re not perfect, neither are we. But honestly, show me a family that is and I’ll show you a lie.
So to the couple who I call my brother and sister in law (it’ll be legal soon enough); Thank You.
Without knowing it, you have had a hand in who I am today. You have shown me so much over the years. Some things I loved, some not so much, but I learned from it all. You have raised 2 amazing, talented, kind hearted children who I absolutely adore. You opened your home and heart to me over the years, no questions asked. And although I may have never said it, I love you for it.
I may not be religious, but I believe there’s definitely a woman up there looking out for me!
“Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers” – Garth Brooks