When Mark and I first got married his sister thought we should consider moving. That maybe being afraid to leave Nashville was a bad thing. That maybe we should move out of the house my in-laws owned and that we were renting. She even thought we should move near them!
Well, let’s just say thank goodness I only let her give me one piece of crappy advice (she suggested keeping my last name even though I was pretty sure I just wanted to be an Oates with none of this hyphenated crap).
There are so many reasons following her “move away!” advice would have been horrible. First, she quit talking to us probably a year later. Second, she’s kind of a brat. Third, they live in the northwest. What kind of Southerner voluntarily leaves sunshine and sweet tea for dreariness?
A fake one.*
But the biggest mistake would have been raising our family AWAY from family.
See, I love family. I love my family. I love the family that raised me. I love the MANY friends that I consider family (high school friends, certain sorority sisters, Tartar Saucers, church friends). I love the ones that I only see on Facebook because they live in another country (hi, Philippines!). I love the family that I married into.
Well, most of the family I married into.
If we had moved away from Nashville there are so many beautiful memories I wouldn’t have right now.
I wouldn’t have been able to go to dinner with our family before we checked into the hospital to have Otis. We went with my parents and Mark’s parents to have this beautiful, anticipation-filled dinner before we got to meet our little guy as a family. And even though Otis wouldn’t be making his appearance for another 12 hours, an entire waiting room full of family followed us to check in. It was like an episode of Parenthood. I wouldn’t have had Mark and three beautiful women (my mom, mom-in-love, and grandma) with me as I did this whole labor thing for the first time. We wouldn’t have Friday night dinners with the Oates grandparents, Sunday afternoons with the McKinney ones. We wouldn’t have the new excitement of not just holidays, but holidays WITH A BABY. The very best kind of holiday.
Otis is going to be a better person because he is getting to know his family and build real memories with people that absolutely adore him. And his memories are going to be of experiences he has with these people, not stories that Mark and I tell him.
He’s going to know what it’s like to build a guitar with Poppy. He’s going to remember sitting in the workshop learning and thinking and analyzing like a true Oates man.
He’s going to learn how to paint and sew and do all kinds of crafty things because of his Yada. He’s going to remember doing the dishes with her and frustrating her puppy, Mac.
Otis is going to have a WoW character because of his Grandpa, and he’s going to love spending all day doing quests and killing dragons and doing whatever else gaming nerds do.
He’s going to remember going on dates with his Lola to Target and Camino Real. He’s going to hear about how he was always the perfect medicine for her bad days.
He already misses Aunt Meesa since she left for college, and will look in her room if you bring her up.
And no one in the world is as cool as Uncle Bobby, aka The Swing.
My grandmother moved back to the Philippines in May, but do you know who still remembers the dance she taught him? (Video coming soon)
The older Otis gets the more afraid I am that we’re not going to be enough. That we don’t have enough house. That we don’t have enough money. That we don’t have enough time. That we don’t have enough connections.
But you know what? We are living in abundance when it comes to family and love. To say that my family can and does annoy me would be an understatement. I work with my dad for crying out loud. No offense, Daddy. But there is no way I would ever rob my kid of so much love. And I’m certainly not going to teach him that it’s acceptable to treat family, the people that love you and have your back all the time, like trash.
I’m thankful that I did absolutely nothing with the advice Mark’s sister gave me. I’m thankful that my kid has more family than he knows what to do with sometimes. I’m thankful that I have so many friends that I get to share life with.
I’m thankful for being blessed in so many ways.
* I just need to get this off my chest. My sil thinks she’s Southern. They grew up in California. My in-laws laughed at me when I said “y’all”. Mark, her brother, doesn’t consider himself Southern. I’ve been in the South since I was 5. I am a Phi Mu. I say y’all. I drank sweet tea during my entire pregnancy because it’s crack. And I don’t even consider myself Southern. Posing is ugly and annoys the chiggers out of me (that is not a Southern saying, that is a Marie one). She has been mean about TONS of things, but for whatever reason this little poser quirk of hers gets on my nerves the most. However, when you’ve disowned your entire family I suppose making up a fantasy southern heritage would make sense… Ok. Now I feel better.