There’s a line in To Kill a Mockingbird; “You can choose your friends, but you sho’ can’t choose your family.” For me, this line tells the story of why I am the person I am today and it is because of God’s plan that I have been blessed with both.
Without them even knowing it, I became my parents “miracle baby”. Being a difficult pregnancy for my mom was the start of my stubbornness. Three months into my mother carrying me, she began dilating, had her cervix stitched closed and was placed on bed rest until the 8th month. My parents wanted multiple children, the picture perfect family, but unbeknown to them; they would never get pregnant again.
Growing up, I also wanted the dream my parents envisioned. I always wanted an older brother. My parents, shot down that dream and told me it wasn’t possible! Darn! Even so, I wanted siblings. Being an only child wasn’t always easy and didn’t give me the advantage of making friends easily. I didn’t have many friends who lived closed by, and I was certainly never good at playing by myself!
I never would have imagined that many of my 7th grade cheerleading teammates would become people I now call sisters. Growing up as an only child, it is easy to fit into the “stereotypical” mold that only children are selfish, spoiled, and not maternal. It was for that reason, that up until about a year and a half ago, I was confident in my decision that I didn’t want my own children. I didn’t have the experience that most get with having younger siblings. The lack of experience, and being the perfectionist that I am, feeling that I wasn’t maternal enough to be good at it, created a desire to not pursue that path. I was perfectly happy with my school “kids” and my fur babies!
Having friends that you can pour your heart out to, share your deepest insecurities with, and have them be your unbiased sounding board is a gift I will forever be grateful for. I’m less selfish and I’m less stubborn because they never sugar coat whether I’m being unreasonable and unrealistic and in a lot of ways they know me better than I know myself. They hold me accountable to loving myself, to being a better person, and their unwavering love and support reminds me every day that they are more than friends, they are sisters.
Each of them are unique, all strong minded, and together we are a family. As we have grown from teenagers to adults, our differences have allowed us to grow closer together, to learn from each other, and I am blessed for that rarity.
One of the biggest things I am grateful for is them challenging me on my decision to not have children, questioning if that would be something I would regret looking back, and sharing with me all the reasons it was worth it. Seeing my best friends go through the experience of carrying and raising their children, and having them embrace me as their Aunt, opened my view to a different sense of purpose…the concept of loving someone more than I love myself.
It was this love that allowed me the ability to open my heart more than I ever thought I could and embrace my husband’s children. It certainly wasn’t easy at first, and I continue to grow and learn everyday as a step-mom, but I’m better for it… for this has shown me that I am maternal and I am deserving of being a mom.
It’s funny how God’s plan is better than the one you have for yourself and how it comes full circle. My parents are now grandparents, embracing a large family, I’m a mother to an amazing son and two bonus kids, and most importantly, I have what I always wanted…sisters!
Do you have lifelong friends that are more like brothers/sisters?