I am the youngest of my family. My oldest sister is 13 years older and yes, we have the same parents. They had her in their mid 20′s and me when my dad was 40 and my Mom in her late 30′s. My oldest sister went to college on my first day of kindergarten. To me she has always been an adult. We have a strange sisterly/ maternal relationship. She was married, divorced, and married again before I graduated high school. She had her first son when I was in high school and the rest of her kids when I was in college or trying to form Thorazine. I have a ton of amazing memories of her kids. My oldest nephew was the first baby I ever held. He made me want to be a parent. I adore him, and he I, and it is that way to this day. I have so many memories of my niece and nephews young. I went to all their school events. Before my husband and I married, circumstances had him unemployed weeks before our wedding. He helped my sister and took the three of her kids for two weeks. My sister would call from half a world away and he would be playing bop it with my niece who was seven at the time. We still have funny stories and inside jokes from the time we all spent together over the years.
Suddenly my sisters kids are grown.
My oldest nephew recently was between places to live and spent a ton of time with us. He has grown into a hard working young man. He he has a lovely woman in his life and they are so in love. They are talking marriage. It freaks me out the baby I held in my arms is all grown up, a college graduate, with a real job. How did that happen? Over Christmas my husband and I went out with he and his girlfriend and had an amazing time. His girlfriend is smart, driven, and down to earth, just like him. It freaks me out to think in a few years time I could be a Great Aunt/Aunt to his children. The thought of it makes me quiver.
My niece is a sophomore in college. She is an amazing swimmer and she competes in long course races where the race is 50 laps or something crazy like that. She is a typical college kid getting in a little trouble here and there but a great kid. Over Christmas her first real boyfriend came to town. As she showed him Philadelphia, she showed up at my door as we were cooking allergen free food to freeze for Aaron. The boy seemed to take the unconventional aunt and uncle with the wild kids in stride. I would of never showed up on my aunts doorstep with a boy friend and it warmed my heart that she knew it would be ok to show up whenever she needed.
My sisters middle son has ADHD. He is a wild man, so much like Ryan. He is, and had always been very close to my husband. He has said many times over the years to my husband, you are not an Uncle you are my friend. He recently graduated college where he played lacrosse on partial scholarship. He is like a big puppy and regularly when he was a kid and teenager I had to remind him to not make love hurt. He is a sweet kid with an abrasive outside. My kids were born when he was a teenager. He used to call them “it” in the most loving way he could. He loves metal and his first hardcore show was an all ages show with Thorazine and Gang Green. He likes to introduce me as “this is Jo-Anner, she rocks harder than any woman ever and loves kids”. Colin called me today. He had a friend visiting and he was going to be in the city. He wanted to come to the bar and visit but I am not working. He is not drinking and is in training because he was invited to try out for the Denver Outlaws and the Chesapeake Bayhawks professional lacrosse teams. He is finishing his rehab on a shoulder that he had surgery on in the fall, but he is in full on training mode. On the phone this afternoon his excitement was so earnest and childlike but adult at the same time. I must have told him how proud I was about twenty times.
I am proud of all of them.