Monday, May 20, 2013

You Make Us Work Better

I'm bone tired, but I want to get this all out because I want to remember this weekend. My oldest niece graduated high school this past Saturday, and I flew in for it. I don't usually fly in for weekends (maybe once per year) and definitely not for individual occasions of each of my 10 nieces and nephews. But this one -this one was a biggie.

I whispered upon arrival, to her younger sister, that that high school gym packed with people was the most white people I've seen in a clump since we went to Disney World in 2004. She laughed and laughed at that one -- they came up to visit me over Thanksgiving, so they've all gotten a good front-row seat to my life and its differences to the small rural town in which we were raised.

I spent alot of time with Shelby, this niece of mine, as she grew. She was born when I was 14 to my 18 year old step-sister. This step-sister was fairly recently acquired as even though our parents had been dating since I was about 8 years old, Mom wouldn't marry him for several years. So, our family changed awfully dramatically in that short timespan and we all lived together too for most of the time. On the weekends, her crib was wheeled into my room.

I would wake in the middle of the night and bounce her up and down to popular country songs I'd hum under my breath. She particularly loved this song and I'd sing and dance little motions along with the lyrics "I know what love (bounce) is, WHATS it (dip) to you?"

'Time's up, train's a-moving baby.'

And so, it is her time to move on down the tracks. I made her a video for graduation that had everyone in the room sobbing  ugly tears. I was truly not intending that to happen, and I felt guilty. Especially for her younger siblings, who I didn't expect to look like they'd been smacked across the face. It was like it truly hit them that she's leaving. They've been such a tight unit of 3 since they were all born in within a few years of each other.

The video was a trip to make, watching them all grow up again - and me, an awkward teenager, grow up along with them.

She's going to college on a full cheerleading and academic scholarship. She got 'er done, and Aunt Steph is pretty dang proud.


Ms. Moon said...

Miss Shelby is a darling thing and you are such a fantastic aunt. You have tended and loved her for so many years and this video is a heart-tribute to her and to your whole family.
I wish her great success. I am sure she looks at you as the finest kind of mentor. A loving one, a real one, a strong one, a successful one. She will go farther because of you. You do realize that, don't you?

Mel said...

What Ms. Moon said. You made a wonderful video, no wonder everyone cried, I did too, happy tears, because it was beautiful. They just grow up so fast, it makes me dizzy. Shelby is blessed to have you in her life, and you in hers.
Thanks for sharing the love.

liv said...

OMG, the tears began at shot #3, the bathtub scene and I don't even know these people!

The visible Love in that was irresistible - no wonder everyone was sobbing. Lucky Shelby, lucky you :).

Perhaps the greatest of your many talents is bringing joy. Very special, you-that is, very special!

PS: There were gasp-worthy shots of pretty you in there!

SJ said...

I am so glad all 3 of you come by to visit my little place....I love each of your comments SO much. Thank you for all the love.

Andrea Manoni said...

ugh. everytime i freaking write out a long comment on your blog, it erases it when I try to publish!

I am just going to save up all my comments for our in person visit coming up. Miss you! And seeing S graduate from HS makes us OLD friends!