I will warn you right now, this post will most likely be the longest, most emotional post you will ever see from me. It's going to be a pretty personal one too, so if you're here for the headbands and hair clips, you might want to skip this one and come back tomorrow...I just want to make sure I set the proper expectations ;)
Let me try and give you a little background first...my sister Angela and I may not have been best friends growing up. In fact, I probably inflicted a lot of pain and torment on my little sis. She likely didn't deserve it all (maybe just some of it), but I was the big sister, that's what big sisters do...right?
Fast forward to college, we were both away from our family, living on our own in Utah, going to school. This is where I think our relationship started to really bloom. We started to rely on each other a lot more. We struggled through tough times that our family went through, together. We supported each other through the ups and downs of college life. Eventually, we both graduated and got married. This is when our relationship got even deeper. We were both newly weds within a couple years of each other, we were both mothers within a few years of each other. She had her first child (Ella) within a couple months of me having my second child (Carson). From there on out we had babies together, she had her 2nd and 3rd when I had my 3rd and 4th. All of our children match up.
Angela and my brother in law Ryan have moved every three years or so since we have all been married as he has gone through dental school and then periodontal school. We had one glorious year of living in southern California (San Clemente and Huntington Beach to be exact) while her husband Ryan did an internship and my husband Mike worked for Pulte Homes. We not only had the pleasure of living close to each other but we were also surrounded by 99% of our extended family; cousins, grandparents, aunts, unlces etc. For Angela and I, this is the life we grew up with, a life surrounded by almost all of our extended family, both sides.
|visiting the children's museum together and riding their favorite bikes, cooking dinner together, going to Joe's farm grill together, cousins going with each other on field trips for pre-school|
We both moved on after a year of living in southern California, they moved to finish perio school and we moved for Mike to take on a new position with Pulte in Arizona. During this time Angela and I ventured into what is now Banner Boutique- it was just the two of us in the beginning. Banner Boutique for me was a hobby that helped me acclimate to my new home of Arizona, a place where I didn't know many people but liked to be busy. Banner Boutique did the same for Angela and also helped them pay the bills allowing them to not have to go too in debt for periodontal school.
|celebrating birthdays together at Benihanas, children's museum again, celebrating Grandma Karen's birthday together, watching the dads carve pumpkins together|
Fast forward to Angela and Ryan getting ready to graduate- and they tell me there is a chance they will be doing a short term stay in Arizona as they wait for their more permanent position to become ready in San Diego!! I was elated when it all worked out for them to come here, even if it was going to only be temporary, I was willing to take ANY family I could get, especially my sister and her family- bc out here in AZ I have no family.
|Doing a family home evening together learning about Jesus' birth, welcoming Kellan into the world and aunt Angela put his first little outfit on him, baking Christmas cookies together, riding the train in Scottsdale together|
Needless to say, it's been a dream 10 months for me. Dreams for me are made of LOTS of cousin time, lots of trips to the mall together, lots of trading kids while one sister gets her house clean and vice versa, lots of dinners together, lots of holiday celebrating together, lots of cousins bickering sometimes too, lots of little weekend trips together, lots of cooking and baking and swimming and shopping and eating out and movies and bike riding and couples date nights together!
|Playing with cousins at Christmas time, going to Pottery Barn Kids together for the 100th time, reading books on the grass while also riding bikes outside, picking up sleepy children when they have late overs|
In the short 10 months they have lived here, we have each welcomed a new baby and been there the very day each baby was born (which is a first for both of us, we've always been long distances away for births of babies), we've celebrated every single holiday, we've suffered long AZ summers together at the pool, we've learned how to ride bikes, we've visited the MAC store numerous times, we've watched our toddlers fight over baby strollers, we've done it all!
|iPhones fixed, naughty toddler cousins pulling out all the dirty diapers from the trash can outside|
My sister is packing up her house right now as I type this. I am 4 days away from going back to the days of having no family around. My heart feels very heavy, like it's going to break. I keep telling myself "it will be OK, you lived here for 3 years without any family around before they got here, you can do it again!" My heart doesn't seem to hear that though, it keeps thinking of all the many ways it has enjoyed watching the cousins play together and having a sister to lean on. The tears are literally at the surface every minute of the day it seems. It's getting worse now that we are down to single digit days.
|cousins playing at the bounce house, cousins snuggling on the couch, toddler cousins pushing each other in the baby stroller, going to the farm together, watching Ang get grumpy about her baby being over-due|
I know there are many people out there that live far away from family. I don't think my brain or my heart is programmed to live like this though. My heart breaks even more for my son Carson who's first words out of his mouth every single morning are "Mom, can Ella come and play?" which are then followed by my little Chloe saying, "Sadie house Sadie house Sadie house," meaning she wants her cousin Sadie to come play.
I am so grateful for the wonderful friends I have here in AZ, I am also beyond grateful for the job Mike currently holds and the opportunities we have had here in Arizona. I know we are meant to live here in AZ right now. I know my family was meant to move here and as heartbroken as I am to see my sisters family go, I know my family's place is right here, right now.
|Baby Aiden is born!|
I don't know what the future holds for my little family. We could someday end up moving to southern California to be surrounded by family; we could also end up being here is AZ for the rest of our lives. I truly don't know which is best for our family. I do know we are where we are supposed to be for now, and that's all I can ask for, right now.
|baby Aiden and baby Kellan side by side for the first time, cousins enjoying time together|
So, instead of crying over the loss I'm about to go through this weekend, I am going to try so hard and be grateful for the 9, almost 10 months we had with my sister and her family. It was everything I could have hoped for! I adore her, her husband, her children! I am so grateful it will be a short 6 hour drive to see them...and I will try and stay focused on that (while also shedding many tears).