Wednesday, February 20, 2013
I really don't know exactly how old I was when he entered my life, or when he officially became a part of the craziness of the Baker family by marrying my mother's baby sister. To me, he was just always there, he was always my uncle.
My grandmother had three girls that she raised on her own. She divorced my grandfather because, if I'm remembering the stories correctly, he was a philandering drunk. Just imagine the drama there must have been in a household of four females. I know some of the stories, but I think my two aunts would fly up here and shoot me between the eyes if I dare tell what I know.
I guess what I was getting at is that my aunts are blood, they are, well, they are my aunts, my mother's sisters, my grandmother's daughters. My uncles, however, married into the family when I was just a tiny thing, but they mean the same to me as my aunts. They were always in my life and I've always loved them.
Then came the day I heard of the divorce. I never told anyone, but even though I was an adult, I was devastated. I couldn't imagine my life without one of my uncles in it. All kinds of things went through my mind. Was I supposed to choose sides? Was I expected to choose sides? There was no way I could, I loved them both equally.
My aunt was great, she never even dropped a hint of wanting us, me at least, to choose her over my uncle. I love her for that, because that was something I simply couldn't do. My memories of him are intertwined with my growing up, with my life. He made me animal shaped pancakes, he sometimes took me with him when he had labs while he was in dental school, he x-rayed my broken toe at his dental office on Cape Cod, and I loved him, I still love him. I haven't been able to see him in years. He re-married and moved to Maine, I moved to Oregon, and life, as it has a way of doing, went on.
I recently got a message from his wife, the family is giving him his 70th birthday party in Austin, Texas this April. I knew I had to be there! The whole family, except for my parents and grandmother, will be together again. Thank goodness for airline miles. I was able to get tickets and I shall be at the party. I will see my uncle again, and for a small flash of time I will be transported back to my childhood and I will be in the presence of the man who never left my heart.
Blood means nothing, relationships mean everything, and real relationships, well, they never fade.