Hugs, kisses, dinosaur “rawwwrrrrs,” sippy cup “ahhhhs,” mosquito bite attacks, mid-day neighborhood walks, and late-night life talks have filled up the past 12 days of my life. My heart is exploding with love, tears streaming down my face as I write this blog post on my departing flight from Raleigh, North Carolina. This visit with my two brothers, their life partners, my niece, and nephew has created a newfound perspective for me on auntiehood, sisterhood, parenthood, and adulthood.
We packed the last 12 days with all kinds of local adventures. The gorgeous Duke Gardens, the Museum of Life and Science, the Durham Food Truck Rodeo, a four mile walking tour of the University of North Carolina, a giant Paper Puppets show, backyard picnics, a family photo shoot, and a home dinner party where my brother’s friends announced their pregnancy and I got to talk Thailand with their native Thai friend.
Not to mention all the moments in between, sharing dreams, snuggles on the couch, playing with every toy in sight (and trust me these babies have a LOT of toys!), sipping my older brother’s divine homemade Peach Kombucha, celebrating my twin brother’s new job, plotting our relocation to Europe if Trump gets elected next year, faking a marriage proposal, and reflecting on the paths our lives have taken to reach this moment. I embraced every tear, smile, giggle, smirk, frown, and misunderstood word of child-speak.
Late last night after everyone was asleep I called a dear friend and burst into tears as I was overwhelmed with how incredibly blessed I am. I have a family that I love so dearly, who I get to share the ups and downs and in-betweens with, who accept me and all my wild dreams, and who welcome me into their homes and hearts no matter the circumstances. I am filled with empathy for those who cannot be with their families, who are unable to open their hearts to love, who have hurt each other seemingly beyond repair, who have experienced the tragedy of losing a family member, or who simply take for granted the undeniable blessing a family’s love provides.
The next time I see my brothers, my niece will have graduated from walking to running and baby babble to English; my nephew will have outgrown the crib and moved to a big-boy bed, and his dinosaur toys will have names like “tyrannosaurus” and “brachiosaurus” instead of “dinos” and “dinos”; and there may just be another niece and nephew on the way! My brothers and their partners may live in new houses, have new jobs, and hold months worth of proud parent memories to share with me. Although these precious moments will happen out of my reach, I’m confident my heart will feel each one of them.
To my brothers, I want to thank you. You have brought an indescribable love into my life. You are both a constant example of kindness, strength, compassion, and courage. They say home is where the heart is. No matter where I may be in the world, with you both in my heart I will always feel at home.