And here we are. You knew it was coming. I couldn’t possibly write about the women who have helped me become who I am today without giving a very big shout-out to three incredibly important women in my family. After all, I’m one of those lucky people who can say they have three important family members. Don’t misread that. I don’t mean it in an eye-rolling, sappy, or woke sort of way. The statement is meant with all the sincerity and seriousness I can convey through a pixelated screen.
Growing up, one of my grandmothers was around physically but not mentally. Due to this, I was never able to truly know her as a personality. Now that I’m an adult (by the definition of age, if not attitude) I’m aware that there are many people who have this situation many times over. That’s why this post is so important – it’s not just recognition to the family I have but a thank you to whatever luck or force is responsible for letting me have them.
The One Who Gave Me Life
Let’s face it, I would be in the wrong if I didn’t list my mom as one of my three inspiring family members. But I list her here with good reason: she took her job as mom seriously. If you’ve been around this site over the years, you will remember my mom from a post long gone. I admitted she was a pretty cool mom at that time, and it still stands.
I’ll let you in on a secret though. As I’ve gotten older in years, we have started to see less eye to eye. For some reason, my mom and I were able to get along in the most swimming of ways when I was but a wee lass. Then I became an adult, and things just became harder. Perhaps it’s that our lives took such different turns: she became a mother and wife, I have remained single and childless. Maybe it’s that our hobbies don’t jive since I collect passport stamps and tattoos and she collect violets and books. Or maybe it’s just the tattoos.
The thing is, no matter what path I have taken or choice I have made, my mom has not disowned me or left my side. And that’s what makes my mom such a great one – she lets me be me. I imagine it’s a hard thing to do, to allow people you care about to make their own decisions and life plans. During the school year, I find myself worrying about certain students, and the occasional coworker, and they aren’t my family. Luckily, I have a mom that’s fine with me striking my own path, wherever it may take me.
The One Who Gave Me a Past
Picking my sister was an easy choice because, out of all the people in my life, she’s the one who’s been stuck with me the most. We went to the same schools until college, participated in most of the same activities, and we practically shared a room and most certainly shared a closet. If anyone has seen me at my best and worst, it’s her. So of all the people in my family, she would be the one to have the most reason to kick me out of the family.
Lucky for me, she hasn’t come to that decision, despite all the years I spent hiding in dark corners to scare her as she tried to get to her bedroom. I still find it funny to this day, she – not so much. That’s the thing with my sister. She ties me to the fun times of the past better than anyone else. While I have old friends who I’ve built memories with, it’s my sister who I’ve built my life with. We went through the same fads (remember Pogs?) and childhood traumas (saying goodbye to our dog) together. We went from hand-me-downs to hand-me-overs and high school hijinks to college carry-ons, all at the same time. Out of all the people in the world, my sister is the one person who can relate to most of my past life events and I to hers.
Times change, and so do people. My sister has followed my mother by becoming one herself – and she’s pretty damn good at it. The firsts we started to go through changed as well, first houses and jobs, her marriage and first child. We can’t relate to each other the way we used to, but she’s still building on my past. Each holiday, I can expect a gift from my niece and nephew, thoughtfully picked out or made. She makes sure to include me in fun family times, even when it doesn’t seem important, which to me it is since I have no little family of my own. It’s nice to know that, no matter where my life might take me, I’ll always have someone to look back on it with.
The One Who Gave Me Pie
Yes, that’s right, I said pie. Not just any pie, I’ll have you know. I’m talking my very own, made from scratch, all to myself pumpkin pie. It is a VERY big deal. Not everyone gives you pie, you know. But I’m sure after all the paragraphs and people I’ve written about, you probably think this is some joke or that I don’t actually think much of my aunt to say she gave me pie. You, however, are completely and utterly wrong.
The story goes that one year when I was a child, after a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, I told my aunt how much I loved her pumpkin pie. (I know this is true because I remember saying it. I just don’t remember how old I was. 10? 13?) The next year at Thanksgiving, my aunt showed up with two pumpkin pies, and one was just for me. Seriously. It had my name on it and a can of whipped cream. I was stunned. My sister was jealous. My parents not only let me take it home but they actually DIDN’T eat it. And I didn’t share it. I thought it was a one-time deal, but every year since then, my aunt has baked me my very own pumpkin pie. She even made one this past year when we didn’t have a family Thanksgiving. (In an event that still causes me to cry, I promptly dropped it on the floor of my car before even tasting it. I’m crying now just thinking of it.)
The thing about the pies is it’s more than a pie. Never in my life had someone outside my immediate nuclear family made me feel so special and loved. I mean it. It’s a really rare thing for people to listen to what you say and an even rarer thing to have them act on it. Sure, it’s just a pie, but to a kid who was getting constantly bullied, picked on and left out, it meant the world to me. Someone cared enough to think about me and to show me kindness and love when they really didn’t have to do so. It’s the holidays, a million things have to be done when you’re an adult. But each year, she took the time to make that pie and make me feel like the most special person on the planet. That’s who my aunt is: a caring, helpful, loving, encouraging, and surprising individual. With every action, she makes sure to let the people in her life know they are loved. And sometimes she makes them pie.
So there you have it. All the women in my life who have shown me acceptance, love, kindness and support. These are all the women who I strive to be like and admire for their part in making my life one worth living. Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have all of these women around them. I know I’m extremely fortunate.
But maybe you do have someone, woman, man or non-gendered. I started this series before things came to a weird halt, but I’m glad it fell when it did. We say it all the time, but make sure you tell the people in your life what they’ve done for you. They truly never know unless you tell them in a text, card or blog.
What could just B more kind?
The article The One with the Family was written by Elizabeth Schap and first appeared on just B more.
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