Tracy's Wellness Journey: Family Time Surprise
In April, my younger brother, Chase, sister-in-law, Kirsten, and their son came to visit from Alaska. Lyle is 16 months old and although I have a few other nephews, this would be my first experience as Aunt T, which is pronounced Auntie.
We determined it had been over 17 years since Chase had been to Florida. He was just a teenager, and I was in my 30s. My brother is 21 years younger than me, and my oldest son is three years older than him. Our age difference, distance, jealousy, and built-up animosity has kept us apart for nearly two decades.
In the last 10 years, I have made three trips to Alaska hoping to establish a foundation to begin building a mutually rewarding and healthy sister-brother relationship. It is complicated. We share the same dad, have different moms, and another brother and sister who are both struggling with drug addictions. Our dad has wanted us to have a relationship because once he is gone, I will become the main family historian capable of tying everyone together with stories.
Once I knew they were coming, I went into shopping and planning mode. I shopped for toys, clothes, and baby treats — all things that a big sister and Auntie would do to make them feel welcome and comfortable. I was thrilled. I arranged a trip to the Brevard Zoo for 22 people, a BBQ and pool party with a huge inflatable slide for 26 people, and most nights I cooked meals for 12-17 people.
The biggest surprise was on me. Secretly, Chase and Kirsten decided to fly my dad down from Alaska so he could join us for all the festivities. He arrived a few days after they did, and when he walked through the door, I was overwhelmed by emotion. I still am. As I write this, the tears still flow — my heart is full of love and gratitude for such a gift of love and kindness that I will never forget.
Although the entire family is not in these photos, it is a start. This summer, we will do a second photo shoot at the same location, Up the Creek Farms, where the beautiful oak canopies are drenched in moss and the backdrops are plentiful. This will allow me to complete, (or as complete as possible) my family photo wall that I have wanted for years.
In God’s time, all things are possible no matter how complicated your family life may seem. We all heal and learn differently. Often, we think things are happening to us instead of for us. The key is to never stop believing and have faith in the process. You will land right where you need to be.
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