Growing up, I thought I had a perfectly normal family. I had a mom and a dad who were still married. I had two siblings. We had pets, played sports, and went on family vacations. We had nightly dinners at the dining table. We lived in a nice house in the country. We wore good clothes and drove reliable vehicles. Life was good and living was easy as a child.
Or so I thought.
As I grew up and witnessed other family dynamics I was quick to realize one thing; my mom was a bit crazy.
Not like cooky, or funny “crazy.” Like suffering from an undiagnosed mental health issue crazy. During my teenage years, our relationship became strained. By the time I was in college, I rarely spoke to her, mainly only when my dad would call and tell me to call her. She was a master manipulator who used silence as a weapon to let you know you did her wrong. Days turned into weeks of her silence. And then one day she would snap out of it and go on like nothing ever happened. I’d like to say she sought help and we have a great relationship now. But, that isn’t how this story ends and that’s not who this story is about.
When I was young, I developed a close relationship with my aunt. I loved her so much, looked forward to visiting her and begged her to adopt me; this was pre-realization of my strained family dynamic, maybe my childhood self knew what love was and that wasn’t what I was getting at home with my mom.
Over the years, she was my sounding board. She would hear my vents about my mom and life. She would hear my successes and my failures. She and my uncle were deemed my Godparents when I was baptized as a child. She was always a huge part of my life.
She was at the birth of my kids, my mom was not.
As a mid-30s woman, wife and mother, I know now just how lucky I am to have her in my life. She has been my savior when I couldn’t find a sitter. She has been the shoulder I’ve cried on when I have had some hard times. She and my uncle took us in while we were between homes, as our old home sold prior to closing on our new home. She and my uncle treated us like we were their own and at that time in my life, that was exactly what I needed as I was suffering from what I now know was postpartum anxiety.
Thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving me during the hard times. Thank you for being a person that I could rely on, when my own mother let me down. Thank you for loving my kids as if they were your own grandchildren. Thank you for showing them the love and kindness you have extended to me over the years. Thank you for being you. Thank you for showing me what true, unconditional love looks like. Thank you for listening with an open mind and open heart.
There are people that are put in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I am so thankful for her being a person that has been part of my life for my entire lifetime. I will never be able to repay her for her love and kindness she has given me over the years.