The Wonder Years

17 Apr

I grew up calling my aunt “mom.” She was everything to me that a mom is. She cared for me, loved me, fed me, clothed me. She helped me with homework, took me on vacation, made birthdays and holidays special, disciplined me, taught me right from wrong.

 

During the first four years it was just her and I. I infiltrated her circle of friends and soon started calling them aunt <insert name here> and uncle <insert name here>. Every so often I hear the story about the time two of my “uncles” were in Europe and were staying with a friend. They kept referring to each other as “uncle Bob” and “uncle Chris.” Their friend said, “I like this American custom you have. It is so nice.” Then they had to explain it is something a 4 year old girl started among this big group of Washington, DC insiders.

I got to do a lot of pretty cool things growing up. The aunts and uncles had a tradition called “Movie Struggle.” It was a monthly event where everyone got together for burgers at Bullfeathers and then went to the movies. It was always a struggle picking a movie as a group and on occasion they would split off into groups and see different movies. But there were some times mom didn’t have a babysitter so she and I would go for the dinner part. I have so many other fond memories of being carried around on my uncle’s shoulders, going to the zoo and Mount Vernon. Even dressing up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz for an Academy Awards party. They really took my mom and I under their wing. We were like a big family.

When I was six my mom got married. Her husband got the insta family but he was ok with that. I started to call him dad. A few years later I inherited a sister. I wasn’t too fond of having to share the spotlight, but she grew on me! A few years after that I gained another sister. It is funny because by blood we are cousins but I have never thought of them as that. We are sisters. I love them as sisters. They are mine!

I may not have had the traditional family my grandfather wanted, but in a way I did. I think over the years he was happy with the way things turned out and I know my mom up in heaven sure was.

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