Today is my baby brother's 23rd birthday. Next week, my oldest brother will turn 50.
My family is, shall we say, unconventional. I know that in today's world there are probably lots of other families like mine out there. But the fact is, I really don't personally know many.
My dad married his first wife when he was quite young. They had three children together, two boys and one girl. After they divorced, he married two more times but had no children. (I never met wives #2 or 3.) My mom was his fourth wife, and together they had my sister and me. With his fifth and current wife, my dad has one son.
In addition, my mom also remarried after my parents' divorce. She has one son with my stepdad. That makes me one of seven children between my two parents combined.
Most people who know me find this confusing, and I can see why. I have 4 half-brothers, 1 half-sister, and 1 full sister. When I was growing up, most of my friends were perplexed when I mentioned my other siblings besides the two that lived at my house. My friends never really met the other siblings, and probably only ever saw them in person at my graduation and my wedding. But they were and still are a part of my life.
My dad's 3 oldest children always lived with their mom. They did often come to visit us when my parents were married. We saw our sister most often. She and my mom were very close and she loved playing with my sister, Connie, and me. She was a young teenager when we were toddlers. We don't see each other as often as we'd like, but we keep in touch regularly with phone calls and text messages. She has two grown daughters now who are both married with their own children! Yes, this makes me a great-aunt. I've never been quite as close with my 3 half-brothers on my dad's side as I am with my half-sister.
On my mom's side, though, it was different. My mom and stepdad had my youngest brother when I was almost 10 years old. Connie and I were so excited to have a baby in the house! The three of us grew up together, but my brother was only 8 years old when I left for college. Sometimes I think I've kept him frozen at that age in my mind. It is so hard for me to believe that today he is 23!
This weekend we will go to Louisiana, as we do every October, to celebrate our family birthdays this month. My little brother, my husband, and my sister's husband all have birthdays this month. Included in our party every year is my sister's ex-boyfriend, who is just like part of the family. We have celebrated together this way every year for as long as I can remember. Yes, this is a bit unconventional, too! He celebrates with us each October and will be there this weekend with his girlfriend, who seems to fit right in as well.
We had hoped to see all of our siblings this weekend. There was supposed to be a birthday party for my oldest brother's 50th, but we just found out that he has the flu. It is disappointing because we rarely celebrate holidays or birthdays with that side of the family.
We're very much looking forward to our traditional birthday celebration this weekend! I know it is an unconventional family, but it's the only one I've ever known. Sure, I sometimes wish it could be a little less complicated. But I love my family!
My little brother and me in 2008