A is for Auntie A

01/14/2016

Dear Fidget,

Guess what today is???? No, not Christmas. No, not Easter. No, not Halloween. It is the day your Auntie was born a questionable amount of years ago. No, I am not telling you my age, although when you are older I am sure you will be a brainiac, and you will be able to calculate by the dates. For now, (clearing my throat authoritatively), let’s just say that I am 29. And just for future reference, let’s just clear the air and say that next year, I will probably still be 29. You are still a fetus, (not my terminology as you are a baby to me), so you probably could care less about things such as age…..I mean after all, you are still being aged by weeks lol I am guessing, just by your mother’s love of all holidays, you will love your birthday…or at least until you turn thirty lol So let’s just say you have 30 years and some change to start dreading your yearly aging ritual.

Now, birthdays have never been a huge celebration for me…not for myself anyways. I was just born on a snowy, blustery day in January, 34…I mean 29 nine years ago. Just an ordinary baby, who had to overcome extraordinary adversity. Auntie A from the moment she was born was destined to have some hiccups in the road of her life, a LOT of trials and tribulations, and a ton of scrapes and bruises. Well, I came into the world defying the odds and all these years later…let’s just say that I haven’t changed. The night my mom went into labor, it was so treacherous outside they had to put chains on the tires to keep from sliding off the road (of COURSE, I would pick this time to be born…already risking my life before I am even born).

The story I gather is that Mom was basically alone during the birth, as a man that I don’t know or claim as my father was a total douche lord (pardon the language), and he had the nerve to question if I was his….I wish I could tell him today that he was right, I am not nor was I ever “his” child, my father came into my life when I was 4, and he damn sure wasn’t him (again pardon the language….I am guessing you can tell my utter hatred of this man who donated half of my dna although I will vehemently deny it until I die). So, I imagine your nanny being extremely hot under the collar and from her tale she had him thrown out of the room..(I have no doubt she did just that and if something had been near she would have thrown it….for this she gets mad props). Your great Aunt Sheila was in the delivery room, which makes me equally sad, because she was the only aunt I was close to growing up but today we don’t speak…that is another story. I am sure mom was a little scared…ok, a LOT scared, a nineteen year old girl, giving birth to a baby who’s dna was a combo of a jerk who was not even beside her, she is in a room with a woman that she has a love/hate relationship with. Her mom isn’t there, her ONLY biological sister…nada, so basically alone, she was giving birth to me. I wonder how that day felt……I cannot imagine not having my sister and mom by my side and it makes me want to weep for that nineteen year old girl, writhing in pain, awaiting a child, a huge responsibility, and I guarantee you that she never once doubted if I was a bad choice……that takes strength, something your nanny has a bunch of. I am born, frail, fragile, and sick….very very sick…as if a healthy child isn’t challenge enough for a new mom. I had to have 8 blood transfusions at birth, and your nanny didn’t even get to hold me. I spent nearly a month fighting for my life for reasons the doctors never explained why…and your nanny, well she didn’t leave my side, not then, nor has she ever. I hope you love her because she is a clinger lol just kidding, I know you will love her, the clinger part, nah that is accurate (for those she holds dear), she will love you if you want her to or not. I think me and your mom got that trait, and for that I am very grateful.

Finally, after a trying birth, and shaky beginning, I was sent home. I don’t really know if I was a easy baby or a screamer…for Mom’s sake, I hope I was good after all the trouble I caused in the beginning. I have very few memories of my early childhood, I think because most of it wasn’t very memorable….except for your nanny, I remember her, always her. Always a friend, a comrad, a confidante, a companion, and the best mom ever. Other than that my life didn’t really start until I met my father. My REAL father, Clyde Wayne Shelton. I didn’t make loving me an easy task. I was not sure what to think of sharing my mom…..but your papaw, my daddy, well he is as stubborn as all of us combined. He didn’t give up and before you know it….I loved him. I mean really loved him in the all-consuming way a little girl loves her father. This emotion was new to me, but my heart over-flowed with abounding love. Saturdays, were our special day. He took me to White Castle, yard saling, then to pick out a toy, and often a movie followed by an ice cream. I will forever cherish those days, and that man that taught a little girl how it felt to be loved by a dad.

I remember one day specifically, we were out on our adventure when we stopped at the toy store. “Get whatever you want, Pud,” he said patiently as we strolled down aisle after aisle (and NO you or no one else is allowed to call me by that name). There are a few things I will share with you about this man in another blog, he will have his own, but my heart can’t go there today. Anyways, we are walking in circles, but I cannot find what I want on the shelves. Dad took me back to the row that had the moonbright dolls I had been collecting, “Do you have this one?” His brown eyes shining as he holds up a yellow haired barbie (their hair glowed in the dark). So here stood this man proudly holding up a doll he thinks I will want.

“No, thank you, I already got that one.” I said as I fight the tears welling up in my eyes. I didn’t even understand why I was sad, or why there was a huge lump in my throat but I couldn’t get it to pass. I didn’t want to cry on our “special day.” But Dad crouched on one knee and swooped me up.

“What’s wrong, Pud?” He whispered in my ear.

“Well, Dad, I love my moonbright toys, I got every single one….but it is not fun to play by myself with them.” My six year old mind couldn’t wrap around what concept I was even getting at but Dad he nodded knowingly.

“You mean you feel lonely?”

“Yes, not because you and Mom aren’t fun…” I stammered

“I know but we aren’t kids, right?” His beard hinted at a slight smile hidden underneath.

“Yeah, I mean you guys cannot help it being old and all..and I love our days together…but it…” my courage was slowly dissipating, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

“No, grown ups are not the same as a kid to play with. I bet you are bored, no kids to play with..I know what you need.” He said casually as he slid me around for a piggy back ride.

I am giddy at this point, yay, he knew where to find this item. He grabbed a toy I had eyed earlier and we left the store. On the ride home, I am still confused. He reaches over his strong calloused hand for mine, and he says, “You figured it out yet?”

“I need a kid, but I don’t like most of the kids I know.”

“You need a new kid.” He exclaims like he just discovered this on his own.

“I need my own kid…”

“Woah, now…not anytime soon but a kid to grow up with you….” he hesitates to allow me to come to the conclusion he has already reached.

“I NEED A SISTER, DAD, I NEED A SISTER.”

“Yes, you do Pud, yes you do!”

I will spare you the details but a little under a year your mother was born…because that is what great dads do…when they can’t find you something that makes you happy at the store, they create you one.

My birthday seems minuscule to me in comparison to the day my sister was born, or the day my daughters were born, or the day you are born…..I cannot even imagine. But in all my years, my life has been fraught with disaster, or misfortune, but it has equally been filled with miracles that made all the hard stuff seem irrelevant.

This blog is supposed to be about me, so let’s start out with the obvious, I am easily side tracked from things such as discussion, conversation, or in this case blogs (not so much distracted on things that I want….I am fairly relentless in those areas, just ask your nanny who gave me your mommy, God who had to bare my endless prayers before he gave me my kids, or better yet…just ask your mommy who is giving me you…lol) Here is another small detail you might have picked up on, I am great at writing about other people. I am an observer by nature. I am okay to stand in the spotlight or dwell in the shadows. I am comfortable in my own skin, but I don’t think about myself, my traits, characteristics, or qualities in the third person. I am going to give it a good faith attempt just for you. I always feel like I am paying myself a compliment when I say anything positive about myself, so I don’t usually talk about myself. I mean if you are positive, you are conceited. If you are negative, you have low self-esteem. Well, I am neither. I am just an ordinary girl who has had an extraordinary life.

At 22 I married your Uncle Scotty….he has a blog with his name on it coming soon…….soo I don’t want to dwell on him too long lol Let’s just assume I love him very much (which I do) and also that he can be a pain in the arse (because he can). He came into my life when I was not looking for love, or marriage or normal….and if I would have been, I never would have looked for him. He is the opposite of what I would have thought my husband would be…but looking back he is exactly what I needed. He didn’t always make loving him easy but he sure made giving up on him impossible. So here I am a decade later (don’t be doing math, Fidget, focus on the important facts) and I am still with him. Truthfully, I love him way more today than I did the day I walked down the aisle…I will spare you, my sweet baby, as I am sure you get a bunch of that at home, and I am glad you do. Here is the other tricky part of me….I am a romantic, I am a dreamer…but I romanticize other peoples life as I prefer mine to be fairly stable and consistent, I dream but I dream for other’s. Now, I am not some type of martyr, I used to get all swept up in the idea of a certain type of love. I had that with Scotty, and begrudgingly I will tell you I still do but it is a vulnerability and it is scary to love people with all your heart. But when I love it is all or nothing…..yep, I am one of those types.

Now, loving your mom, dad, and sister well there is no fear in that, because they will love you unconditionally. I bet after you spend countless nights waking your sleep-deprived parents out of a heavenly sleep, they will still love you. I am not much of a gambler but I will bet you. 🙂 So, loving someone that I have to trust to love me back…well that terrifies me….why you might ask? Well, I had my heart broken before I met your Uncle Scotty, and I have had my heart broken by him as well. Loving someone because it is natural, a god-given bond is one thing, but marriage kind of love means “CHOOSING” to love your partner. Sometimes, that choice is simple, and sometimes, that choice is very painful. So, there were times I wish I could have chosen not to love him but that would be like cutting my nose off despite my face. Now, days my love for him is no longer a choice and I don’t worry anxiously that one day he will stop loving me back…..I will tell you this, for all the times I have chosen to love, even when it hurt like hell, it was always worth it and I don’t regret a single heartache.

Then, the next challenge in my life was being a mommy…….something I had wanted as long as a child was old enough to want something. But something was wrong with Auntie A, and no doctor could tell her what. Doctor after doctor told her the devastating news she never wanted to hear, “You will never have children.” Fidget, this is a time in my life that I am not proud of. I became a shell of myself. I have always prided myself on being a confident, strong, loving person. I was none of those things. I was demolished in the way no human should ever be destroyed. I hurt from places I didn’t know existed. I pushed everyone away. I couldn’t even look in the mirror…I was broken, I was a broken thing. My own body had betrayed my dreams……how unfair, right? I couldn’t will myself to be healed, and oh how I tried. All I could see in my reflection was someone who would ever be an UnMother. My body didn’t carry my babies, it was as if it expelled them, and it repulsed me as it was the very thing that I wanted more than anything. I would like to say I overcame this dreaded fate like a phoenix rising from the dust but I didn’t. I clawed, I climbed my way to a place where I could catch my breath but I was barely alive. I lost my faith, nearly lost my marriage, and completely lost myself. But finally not one day, not overnight, but eventually, I surfaced from the pits of hell…….and then God gave me Braelyn, and then less than two years later Brynlee. To say that those were the singularly the two most miraculous days of my life would be an understatement. I will go further into this another post 🙂

I hadn’t been a mom five years yet when I had another troubling discovery. I went to the doctor for a routine checkup and some fatigue. After a few tests they said they would call me the next day, and not to return to work (which I disregarded). The next day while doing my work, I heard the news….”We are admitting you. We found a tumor, in your chest….April, are you still there? Hello?” the ladies voice questioned.

“Uh, I am still here.”

“We are admitting you to Western Baptist, surgery will be tomorrow.” I think I just hung up the phone at this point. Everything faded away, I tried to wrap my mind around the thought……a tumor, a tumor?????? My mind went immediately to places no one ever wants to go. I finally found my wits about me to call your nanny……probably not the wisest decision as she was just as hysterical as I was. I finally calmed myself enough to phone Scotty who couldn’t understand me from my hyperventilating….so basically everyone was freaking out and no one knew what was going on. At the hospital the surgeon came in my room. I heard, “Tumor, surgery, tomorrow, size of a golf ball, split your chest, unsure if it is malignant.” I was petrified but somehow kept quiet, willing myself to wake up, telling myself to calm everyone else…..it was truly an out of body experience. All I could see when I closed my eyes was the faces of your two cousins, the grief stricken face of my husband, the face of your nanny, or your mommy without me in the world. I wasn’t afraid of death, more afraid of the ones left living. I can tell you that at that moment, all I wanted was to live….I wanted to watch my girls grow up, wanted to grow old with Scotty, wanted to watch my sister be happy and meet her kids, I wanted more car rides with your nanny…..I think I truly willed the universe to spare me, but of course it was only by the hands of God.

I remember wanting nothing more than to see my kids before they put me to sleep to remove the tumor. I wanted to hold them, to breathe them in…I wanted them to be my last memory, but they didn’t make it in time. Your mom was stuck at a mechanic’s shop as my surgery was bumped up. For once in my life, it was me calming my sister down, talking her off the ledge, when I was feeling anything but certain. “It will be alright. I will see you when I wake up.” She was talking in broken, fragmented sentences between sobs..the phone was pried from my hands as they wheeled me back for prep. Mom, was barely holding it together, I wanted my kids, and Faith was trying to keep everyone calm. I just laid there, this couldn’t be real. It was time, they were going to give me something to make me sleepy. I made 3 people cry before that surgery and two were grown men. I told them to tell my kids they were the last thing on my mind, and tell everyone that I loved them and if I didn’t make it I was sorry….Yep, me again, always worrying about everyone, always trying to ensure everyone’s happiness.

Well, here is the good news, I did wake up, I did recover, and by the grace of God, I was cancer free. I am battling some other issues right now, but I will be ok, no worries, Fidget, your Auntie A is a survivor.

I am kind of an oxymoron. I am a social person but I am happy in my own company. I am an extrovert, love being with people, just not dumb people…or hideous people, or arrogant people…okay, you got me…I don’t like most people…but the ones I do like, well they think I am pretty great. I am not good at hiding my emotions, if I am thinking it, my face is showing it….no apologies for that…by the way, your mother suffers from it as well, we can’t help it; it is a real illness, called RBS, ask your mommy one day what it stands for. For all my many talents, I lack the gift of sewing anything…no I mean, for reals, not even a button. I love to cook, it is a family quality, something amazing about fixing food for your loved ones and having a meal together. I am not a picky eater, I used to refuse sushi but your mommy convinced me. Who would have thought the kid that would only eat ramen noodles, cereal, and chicken nuggets would grow up with such a sophisticated pallet, but your mom sure did.

I am girly girl……I like ALL things girly, bows, lace, pearls, pink, purple, flowers, glitter, rainbows, unicorns, you know all that crap your mom isn’t a fan of…..the girlier the better. Don’t worry your pretty little head though, I think there is nothing cuter than a little boy, and since I love to shop I will have your wardrobe on point, your mom has good taste in clothes as well….if you are a boy, you will be a sharp dressed man. I LOVE to shop, but I am poor…end of that story. Pictures are a treasure to me, although I am usually behind the lens. I love to read anything really….I can read a dictionary if I am in the mood to read. I make simple things really complicated. I am educated, I like to learn but I often don’t utilize my rational side of my brain. I cannot lie, if I do lie, it is obvious reference above paragraph. I hate leaving the house without makeup but being a mom has forced me to make a mad dash to walmart unexpectedly so don’t look to closely at the folks on walmart.com. I have completely inappropriate conversations with your mom, and only your mom because if anyone else heard them they would think we are evil to the core…and we kind of are, but I prefer to call it bluntly honest….which is why we only share our honest opinion with each other. I enjoy a quiet evening in reading, writing, or drawing just as much. I am artistic but not in a geeky way. I have several artsy outlets but I can never utilize more than one at a time. For example, when I write, I cannot focus on drawing, and vice versa, I take spells on what I prefer. With that being said I am also a multi-tasker but not in the crazy way your mom can read 4 books, hold conversation, file taxes, and watch tv. No, I can however, juggle housework, a baby on each hip, research stuff, write or draw, give baths, cook supper, and a billion other things. I don’t mind getting dirty but I prefer not to. I am OCD about my kids getting messy. Family is my life, and I am loyal to a fault. I forgive way too easy, but hate sleeping when I am mad so there is a good chance if you ever upset me…it will never last over 24 hours, so rest easy little one…as if I could be mad at you. I am hard to make angry, while we are on that topic but if anyone talks about my family my switch flips immediately without warning. I never give up…period. Above everything, I love, love, love to laugh, at any and everything…including myself….I inherited it from your nanny. Matter of fact, your mom is not above leaving us heaving and haying in the middle of the store, she will just keep walking like she doesn’t know us…she didn’t get this trait. I cannot help it, I go into laughing fits….factor in your nanny, your mommy rolling her eyes and I guarantee I am going to laugh until I look like I am convulsing……nanny will be joining me and your mommy will be the one walking in the opposite direction…which makes it even more hilarious. Your nanny and I have spent entire afternoons shopping, getting tickled, walking away to compose ourselves only to see the others shoulders shaking silently, only to lose it again. We literally crumble to the ground like a couple of tards, grabbing any nearby walls, clothes racks….you name it….and it is my favorite.

I over think EVERYTHING, literally EVERYTHING! If I had one dream about what I would like to do in life. Well, I may be 29, Fidget, but I can list a ton of things that I have left on my bucket list. own my own art studio, have my art on display, own a business where I can do my art, publish a book, have that book on the best sellers list, be a great mom, be a better person every chance I get, and I cannot wait for the chance at being an aunt…pretty sure I am going to be awesome at that gig, just fyi 😉

The day your mom met your dad….well, I knew all was going to be just fine. How could it not be, a new baby, an engagement…a visually smitten Boo…the irony in this is she is a realist and I am the hopeless romantic, but I love the way the world works. I enjoy seeing her as a giddy girl, it is the best feeling in the world. Now, I guess you can gather from all of this very rambling blog a few things. I am not above putting other’s in front of my own happiness….and I am okay with that because thankfully fate decided to allow me to be happy instead of choosing my happiness or someone else’s. Being a wife, daughter, sister, mother…and now AUNT is EVERYTHING to me. I get what I want but I have to work really hard for it…..reference seven years to get a sister, seven years to have a baby, twenty seven years for my sister to make me an aunt…..yeah, I get what I want but not without sheer determination, a bunch of pestering, and a ton of praying…….did I add I am a highly impatient person, but you know what, Fidget, I don’t even mind! So far I am scoring 100% success on all fronts……..I have the best mom, sister, husband, kids and niece/nephew ever…..and I think perfection takes time, but it is always worth the wait. I am going to close for now. I am sure I you have had your fill of hearing me gab…….oh yeah, if I like you, I like to talk……sooooo get used to it.

Your eccentric,

Auntie A

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