When you find your family along the way.
When I was young I wanted brothers and sisters more than anything, mates for my pirate ship, someone to fight with in the backseat, others to share my secrets with and plan far away mystical adventures while hiding in my fort made of old sheets draped over the dining room chairs. Brothers and sisters is not the hand I was dealt in this card game of life, and I am okay with that because while they may not be handed down family heirlooms, the people in my life who are the family I have found along the way course through my veins and make up the very best parts of me.
About 12 years ago a young guy named Matt would walk into my world at work, interviewing for an assistant manager position in the box office. I don’t remember even talking to anyone else about the job, I actually have a hard time remember being without him at all, he was hired almost immediately and would become the brother I never had. Matt has a large family but through him I have been given a little taste of what it would be like to have the stability of knowing a brother is always looking out for you, always on your side, and come hell or high water would be standing next to you when the water receded. Time would drag us through the devastation of losing parents , I remember driving 5 hours to Pittsburgh in record time just to make it for the last 20 minuets of the visitation for his moms service. Nothing is more important than being there for the hard stuff. Matt has been there for all the hard stuff in my world, putting up with my heartbreak shenanigans when relationships fail, always there as I have struggled with my weight, by my side as I watched my father lose his dignity and ultimately his life battling Alzheimer’s. While there have been hard times, the stories of love and laughter shared outweigh any tears we have shed together, I am so thankful for his kindness, friendship and love over the years.
Years ago after surgery to take out my gallbladder, high in the clouds of morphine la la land, I proudly announced to the whole medical team (after Matt had left a bit earlier) that he was my husband and would be back tomorrow. The next day I was shocked to learn that they had not only taken my gallbladder out but replaced it with a husband, as one of the older nurses with a southern raspy drawl asked “Sugar, when is your sweet lil husband coming back to see you?”. Wow, I can’t imagine what the co-pay is on one of those! Oh, we have gotten into the craziest situations (never arrested may I add) , he has single highhandedly put more ceiling fans in my house than I can remember, we have traveled across the country together, survived a death defying cab ride in LA, eaten some damn fine bbq, seen poison ivy in places I never even knew possible, drank our fair share of bourbon and have laughed enough for a few lifetimes.
Today is his birthday, and I celebrate him with you in words, and always in my heart for being the closest thing to a brother I will ever have.
Happy Birthday Mattie.