Monday, September 08, 2008

Personally: Family


As most of you know, I am an only child, and I was raised by the best (single) mom anyone could ever hope for. When I was small I spent my days with my grandparents at their home out in the country, and it's there that I learned to tie my shoes, eat catfish, chicken fried steak, and other southern goodies, and learned to read. I wasn't the only kiddo in the house, though. My grandparents raised my cousin K. (my mother's nephew), so we spent a good deal of time together--although I suspect he would've rather had hot nails shoved up under his fingernails than associate with me. He was 12 years older than myself, moving out as I was starting school, and he married when I was 9. I was the flower girl. My lovelies, you will never, ever see the pictures.

In December of 1990 they had their first son. I'll call him Peanut (left). That's his nickname, so why not? I was 10 and still quite certain that K hated me. I remember waiting very impatiently when K's wife was in labor, and I couldn't wait to see my little cousin. K and I have a relationship very much like a brother and sister, so waiting for Peanut to come along was like having a real live nephew to dote over. He was the first baby I ever held, and I honestly don't think I've held another one since. Peanut has two sisters, and while I love them dearly, I don't know that I ever held them when they were babies. I've tossed them around as they've gotten older, but Peanut was super special. The first one and all. Peanut's birthday was also the day I realized that K never hated my guts. He was older, the brotherly type, and while he might've relished scaring the crap out of me or hanging me up by my ankles just a little too much, he was always there to protect me, too. He threatened to break the kneecaps of every boyfriend I've ever had. That, my friends, is familial love.

And now Peanut, the little boy that used to dance around in his diaper and stare me awake in the morning when he spent the night, is getting ready for his 18th birthday. He's taking senior pictures, taking early college courses, working his tail off, and generally getting his life together to be independent. Where on earth does the time go?

He really has grown into quite the remarkable young man (and I suddenly sound like a granny). He's raced in national motorcross competitions, he plays golf, he text messages faster than anyone I've ever seen, and all the while he makes me laugh. He's a good guy--kind-hearted, smart, and really really funny. I just can't wait to see what he does next. And he will always be Peanut to me.
Finally, I think I know what it was like to be K when I was growing up. I want the best for Peanut, moreso than he'll probably ever know. In short, if a girl ever breaks his heart I might have to strangle her in her sleep. I'll offer at least.

11 comments:

  1. Oh, Andi, I so understand. My oldest daughter is 17 and a senior in high school this year. Where did my little girl go? And while I'm so very proud of her, I can't believe how fast the time has flown.

    Great, great piece. Thanks.

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  2. I think I must be getting my period, because my eyes welled up while I was reading this.

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  3. What a beautiful, beautiful essay, Andi! Like Lulu, my eyes welled up as I read this. What a special love you share with Peanut (and his family).

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  4. Your writing is so good Andi. I really feel in touch with the love you have for family and for Peanut in particular. Such a great post.

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  5. He's a cutie! I love that second picture.

    And I totally understand as well. I used to baby-sit my next-door neighbor's kid. I watched him the day he came home from the hospital! Now he's a senior and driving and dating and all kinds of horrible stuff!

    And I echo everyone else's sentiments. I read this last night and all I could think (besides how touching it was) was how good your writing is getting. I hope you show him this.

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  6. Thanks all! He's a special one for sure. :)

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  7. well, first of all, he's a beautiful boy, if I do say so, and not in a creepy way! And what a lovely recount of your relationship with him. He sounds like an all around great person. Keep on supporting him! He's on his way to greatness, I can tell! You should be proud!

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  8. I suspect the time goes many of the same places as the odd socks, the pair of specs I put down, and my car keys.

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  9. what a lovely post - and i know a little of what you feel - i am roaringly protective of my little cousin.

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  10. Understand the sentiment. My little sister is 14 and gorgeous. i want to lock her up in a tower until she's at least 21. ack!

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