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January 19, 2008

I’ve been working on this post since Jan. 3. Every day since then (and a few days before) has brought new emotions. I’m posting this not as a means to wallow in my extreme emotions (that still tend to bounce around from one to another every day), or as a vehicle for announcing some big news. Quite simply, this blog often serves as therapy for me — a place for me to convey my thoughts, if to no one but myself.

I still remember the phone call from my brother when he first told me he had colon cancer. “I got some pretty tough news today,” was how it started. And then I knew exactly what he was about to say.

Now it’s a little over three years later, and my brother has gone through hell but came out on top. He beat the disease and no doubt grew as a person from the experience, probably more than I’ll ever realize. But to me, he’ll always be my little brother.

“We all have to grow up sometime,” was one of the things he said after he made another life-changing announcement to the family, during our annual after-Christmas vacation. He had known the news for a month, and while he wanted to wait until he knew things were ok, he just couldn’t keep it in any longer. But instead of knowing what he was about to say, like when he broke the cancer news to me, I would have never in a million years expected what my parents and I were about to hear.

“If things go well, you guys will be grandparents in ’08.”

Just like that. I’m going to be an aunt.

Most people would be thrilled with such news, I know. But there’s a catch. Actually there are several. My brother isn’t married, nor is he necessarily planning to get married. And don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty far from old-fashioned. I know marriage isn’t everything, and you can certainly have a loving family without it. But to my parents it just doesn’t work that way. They are very traditional when it comes to their idea of a family. My divorce was shocking enough. You just don’t do that in my family. And you most definitely don’t do this. The other biggie is that the girlfriend is nine years my brother’s senior (I know, again… things like that don’t count for much, but still) and has two children already.

So my parents, in the past four years, have had to deal with my divorce, my brother’s cancer, my grandmother passing away, and now this. With all this in mind, I can be supportive of my brother, but my primary concern right now is my parents. My mom can’t help but be excited about a grandchild; she’s wanted one for years. My dad however is another story. He’s taking this hard, he feels a lot of disappointment… and honestly my dad is so detached when it comes to very emotional things that I think he’d have a tough time with this regardless of the situation surrounding it.

Me, I’m learning a lot from this already. I’m a control freak, I’ll be the first to admit it. While I usually have an appreciation for change, if that change is sudden, unanticipated and monumental, I have a very difficult time handling it. I’m also very, very stubborn. If I have it in my head that something is wrong, it’s extremely hard to convince me otherwise. But I’m learning. And I’m trying.

All that said, I really think I have “come around,” at least a little, over the past few weeks since my little brother dropped the explosion in the middle of dinner. I’m looking at this like I look at most dramatic changes; I’m hesitant to get very excited because this is such a big deal… he’s signing on for 18 years (plus, counting college) of lots of joy, yes, but also lots of responsibility that I’m just not sure he’s ready for. He certainly hadn’t planned for it. But at the same time, sometimes the best things come from the unexpected and unplanned for. I’m going to have a little nephew (just got that bit of info this morning), and getting a new family member is exciting for all of us.

I guess “Aunt Kim” has a nice ring to it. “Uncle Mark,” though… oh my… they don’t know what they are in for! This kid is going to have some fun. Everyone needs a crazy uncle, right?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 19, 2008 6:26 pm

    I think Aunt Kim sounds fantastic. Sometimes the greatest things come from the most unexpected circumstances. And hey, that new baby will have the coolest Aunt on the planet!

  2. Donna permalink
    January 19, 2008 6:43 pm

    It is a big deal and a big shock. I remember it all! But, being an aunt is a lot of fun and the little guy or girl will think that you and Mark are the coolest people ever! Trust me on this. Plus, it will be good experience if and when you guys decide to have kids!

  3. Tiff permalink
    January 20, 2008 11:35 am

    I’d pick being the cool Aunt & Uncle over the Mom or Dad ANY day of the week. Just think, you get to buy all the really cool toys (the loud one’s) and give them to the little one and then- and this is the great part- NOT HAVE TO LISTEN TO THEM FOR 4-5 HOURS PER DAY. Plus, you get to teach them all those dirty little kid songs (Miss Lucy Had A Steamboat!), the best way to make farting noises with ones hands, how to execute the perfect truck driver belch without throwing up, and don’t forget Mark will FINALLY have someone to have in-depth conversations about poop with (because really, what little boy DOESN’T love talking about poop?).

  4. January 20, 2008 11:41 am

    You are so right on all counts! We should think positive. We have a little kid to “influence” and he’s not our own. Mwah ha ha ha….

  5. Tiff permalink
    January 20, 2008 4:54 pm

    Now yer thinkin’ with the “big” head, kid.
    Get it?? It was a subtle reference to your teeney weeney that you don’t like to talk about…

  6. January 24, 2008 5:28 pm

    I love being The Cool Aunt; it’s a fun role with none of the responsibilities.

    I understand your concerns, though. My parents — good Southern stock — were also very traditional when it came to dealing with this generation’s shocks — my living with a man twelve years younger, my brother’s impending divorce (and the reasons that brought it about), my sister’s marital problems, my niece’s lesbianism — but they were tougher than we thought, once they got their heads around it. Hope it goes the same way for your family.

  7. January 24, 2008 9:37 pm

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! You’re right Beth, parents (and people in general) can be a lot stronger than we’d think. I hope my parents get their head around it too, it seems like I got the freaking out out of the way instantly, now I’m pretty much over it. My mom however, she seems to be freaking a little more each day. We’ll see…


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