I'm not sure why I'm torturing myself this way, but I decided to tell you the story of Aaron today. Aaron was born to my sister on 12.19.1995. I have to be completely honest with you - I wasn't excited about it. At that particular time in my life, I was working full-time, a good job, and taking care of my elderly, ill parents, and trying to make a home out of this old farmhouse. I felt my life full enough. At the time, my sister was living with us, and making a lot of life choices I wasn't in agreement with. It was a difficult time. She'd just been divorced and was living it up, so to speak. Who's not to say I wouldn't have done the same thing - I'm not judging in anyway.
When she came home with the news that she was pregnant, I was in denial and wouldn't believe it until I went to the Dr. with her and heard the results for myself. Good God Almighty. She was really pregnant. All my mind and heart could think of was that I was now adding my sister and her unborn child to my 'to do list'. Nice, huh?
I tried talking her into giving the baby up for adoption, telling her she was in no frame of mind to be raising a child. I even searched out adoption agencies and places she could go the last trimester of her pregnancy and meet the adoptive parents.
I'm not sure when my heart changed, but change it did, and within three months, our whole family was anxiously awaiting the birth of this child. Anxious in many ways - and let me tell you - cause I have to be honest. I'm sure ya'll know that Aaron is bi-racial. We live in a very 'racially non-diverse' area. My parents are from The South. The Old South. Need I say more? We waited until mom was in the hospital, like she was every month or two from emphysema, before we would tell her the news. We figured it would put her IN the hospital to hear it, so we'd just wait til she was already there. We were all very anxious to see what he would look like. I am embarrassed NOW to say this - but I just again, have to be gut honest - we hoped he wouldn't look 'too black'. Isn't that just the most awful thing you've ever read? My stars - after he was born, it wouldn't have mattered if he were green, or blue, or purple. I'm so ashamed of myself for ever feeling that way.
My sister was in labor for 36 hours before they finally did a C-section. Now ya'll, I have other nieces and nephews, and I love them dearly - I do - but this - I wasn't prepared for this. The first time I saw Aaron - I fell to my knees and started crying. I hate to sound like a lunatic, but it's true. I did. Something tore my insides out. I was flat out in love. My sister still swears she was just the surrogate mother. I told my Busy Bee girls today in a morning email that Aaron was the balm that soothed my barren womb, and now that he's not here it feels all chapped and dry.
Whilst being pregnant, my sister found a nice little apartment and moved. She completely turned her life around, and can I just say, she has been the most responsible, straight up mother around. That child was the best thing that ever happened to her.
She stayed home with him for two years, and then one day, she came to me saying she just couldn't be a welfare mom any longer, and needed to get to work. We were trying to pool our minds and money together to pay for child care. Seeing that I had a husband and a source of income, I asked Glenco if I could indeed quit my job and take care of Aaron so that my sister could go out and work. He agreed, and so I became a full-time babysitter, parent sitter, and soon after that - sister sitter for my eldest, mentally challenged sister. It was at that time that I re-started my country priimitives business and began sewing primitive curtain valances. I was making them by the hundreds and let me just tell you - life was busy.
I know my sister feels that she's missed alot being a single working mother - but I hope that I've helped in some way - giving her the peace of mind that Aaron was being cared for by family. I'm sure I did. I was the one that picked up Aaron after school - tended him on his sick days, watched him during summer break. Homeschooled him the last two years. After my parents passed on, I got a job working nights and weekends so that I could be with Aaron during the days. Two years ago I took a part time day job so that I could actually see Glenco once in a while! That first year was probably the toughest year yet - trying to work and homeschool. Not a good idea - after losing my job last year (bestthingthateverhappened) it was much easier.
Fast forward to today.
I sit here now - at noon o'clock up in the day. I can hear the clock ticking, my ears ringing, the wind blowing, the ice falling - I'm alone. No one to 'take care' of but meself. I'm so not used to this. Since I was 20 years old life was always about someone else. Someone else's needs over my own. Someone elses agenda. Now - today, it's my choice. My decision on how the day is spent. It feels as uncomfortable as underwear to me - bunching up around my soul - going into places that aren't too comfortable. Smothering. I used to have Aaron about 11 hours a day - sis would drop him off at 7:30 in the am, and he'd be here til about 6:30pm or so, after we'd all had supper together and visited with my sis abit. I see Aaron about three hours a week now. I know! I'm dyin' ova here! I wish I would have had more of a notice. I wish we could have done one more science experiment, read one more book together - golly, how I miss the laughter, and the singing - and the funny voices.
I find myself feeling horribly guilty at times. I feel so self absorbed while I spend time at the library, peruse the garden center and plan lunches with friends. It's so self-indulgent. I lie in bed at night and decide I'll do things like this:
Finally answer all my emails.
Become a hospice volunteer.
Become a triathlete.
Start a business.
Be a bum.
Plant an heirloom apple orchard.
Go back to school.
Start a daycare.
Learn a new language.
Hike the Applachian Trail.
And on and on and on.
The reality is that I have a list of things to do so long that I shan't ever finish it. Big plans for finally doing things around the house that need doing. I'm awfully scattered at the moment, but friends assure me that it's normal.
Aaron is doing very well in highschool. He is absolutely loving it. I'm so excited for him. I'm so excited that it was his decision to go, and that he is adjusting so well. I'm glad to see the wings of his independence are working so well for him, and even though I feel the sting of the wind from them - I hope that I had a small part in helping those wings develop. Even though in some creepy old Aunt way - I want him to stay here and need me forever, I know that this is truth, and right, and life moving in a healthy direction. I don't know if he'll come back to homeschooling next year - or ever. It's been so hard to let go. It's been so hard to find my alone legs. It's been hard. Every morning I wake up with a little less sadness and a little more excitement of the days ahead. It was just all so sudden, this change. I find myself crying alot - like now - as I type this. They are bittersweet tears. Tears of longing for the time when he needed me - tears of knowing he always will - but in a different way. Tears of life passing by much too quickly - tears of excitement over the things to come.