To be an adult orphan...
There I said it...does such a thing exist?Why duh...of course. Google says so at least. That must mean that is the correct term for one who's parents are both deceased? It just sounds so...harsh? No worries, not going to say I am like Little Orphan Annie or something. Trust me...no one wants me to break out into a song. Just sitting here on this dreary, cold Winter day and thinking about my sweet Stepsister Leah's big 3-0 birthday and how lucky I am to have my amazing "hand-picked" family. Family that choose to love silly old me and embraced my little family as their own.
Happy birthday Leah!! My "sister from another mother!!" Wish I could be there but since I can't...you get a sappy post! Cause I know how you LOVE my "sappy" posts! ;-)
So it's a big one for her and how do you tell someone how much their connection with you means other than to tell the world? Oh and that 30 isn't a big deal at all...wait until 40! It just gets better and no one thinks twice when you get all "sappy"! Cause your "older and wiser"...right? If I have learned nothing from my parents passing...way too young...it's that you TELL the people you care about often and loudly just how much you value them. Even if you have those days you want to strangle them...which I have never felt towards any of my step siblings because they are all pretty amazing people. Actually they are some of the best people I know.
Back to Leah...because it is her birthday and I can't be there today. Too many states and lack of money divide me from my loved ones far to often. Leah and I are a solid 10 years apart. My "little sister". We never had the chance to get to know each other while mom was alive. I had moved out when I was pretty young. Too young. And well...mom and I didn't have the best of relationships in my late teen years. We both agreed we just couldn't live together. Those were the years she met my stepfather and became a stepmom. At the heart of it I could just never find my footing within my own family. Could never truly find where or who they wanted me to be. Every step I made in adolescence was wrong and I lived in a state of constantly disappointing my family. I just couldn't be anything other than...me. The term "unconditional love" was kindof tough to come by. It often felt more like folks were waiting for my failure and cheering it on. Oh the agony of those teen years. No wonder I am more than happy to be 40..lol! :-) I finally found the family I so craved in friends around me though.
Jill...Daryl...yep they were there even then! Moving states away a week past 19 was the best thing I ever did. For me. It gave me a chance to be who I was...not what others had labeled me as or tried to make me. I was finally just "me". And it turned out I wasn't such a bad person after all. When mom passed I had been away from "home" for close to a decade and we had long ago put our muddy water under "the bridge". Never really talking about it but somehow working past it all. That's what families do sometimes. You just have to keep moving. Forgiving as you go. As the years after her death passed I kept my stepfather and his kiddos in my life. After watching his deep devotion to my mom and how his life crumbled without her... how could I NOT love this man and his sweet children? The children and family that surrounded him and kept him going. Kind. They were just so kind to each other and I have a thing for kind people. I really do. When someone shows you kindness it is this gift you just have to grasp. Especially when you spent a good chunk of life with kindness missing. Without kindness this world is a lonely place to be.
Leah and I hit it off, even more so, shortly after her daughter was born. See Leah and I have the bond of being "the baby" of our families. It ain't easy being "the baby"...lol! There is a lot to live up too and be compared with! We both had alot in common but the thing that I loved most? Her kind heart and sweet spirit...of course! Actually I can say that again about all of the step siblings. All three are simply good people. Love them bunches! This family of loving spirits. Want to know what I felll in love with most? The fact that they were all imperfect...each having their own dramas, mistakes and issues BUT they all loved each other "unconditionally". Truly. It didn't/doesn't matter if they were driving each other nuts...or just messing up this or that...they all just find a way to get through it and be there for each other. That is amazing to me. They don't spend time trying to pull each other down. Competing on the grounds of "winning" if another sibling fails at something. They take the time to care enough to help pull each other up and support each other. Each others cheerleader of sorts. That is what I attempt to teach my own children. Your siblings "failures" in life are not something to gloat in...they are something to help them with and love them through. Maybe not "fix" but just be there. My three step siblings relationships....well they are my example for what I want for my children. Friendship. And I am sooo lucky they have kept me around all these years. For that I am thankful.
I am thankful for all my hand picked family. Without them my life would be...pretty empty. I may not have a big circle of "real family" (and I do love the ones I do have every bit as much) but I do have a large circle of people I hand picked and treasure. I simply can't list them all...too many very good people! They each hold such a value they just wouldn't know... Unless I told them from time to time. Tell your people you love them. Whether hand picked or your God given family members. Be gushy (I promise it won't kill you) and humble enough to say "you have such a place in my heart". Life is short but it can be very wonderful when you fill it with kind and loving people with whom you can be kind and love as well. Two way street. So thankful for so many ;-)
Now sweet Leah...enjoy that birthday and I sure hope someone made you a cake from scratch...without corn...lol! (she is allergic...see told ya we have bunches in common!)
And hoping you had a day filled with that sweet family of yours...staying out of the cold.