Skylar Rose is the niece of my ex, Joe, and I've known her since the day she was born. In fact, her little corner of Joe's great big family was the one in which accepted me into the fold first, and they all hold a special place in my heart. I have to admit, I was a teensy bit nervous right before our date this afternoon...I mean, Skylar's a young adult now at 16 years old and I haven't really had much contact with her since she was about 8. All was for naught, though, as I now feel as if I've got a brand new young adult in my life...still my niece...and still Skylar Rose.
Lunch with Skylar was pretty comfortable and wonderful at the same time. Like the very cool and mature little girl that she was as a tyke, she is equally mature as a mid to late teenager. She'd told me earlier how she'd discovered my blog through my page on Facebook and there were a couple of posts that she found particularly moving. There was one I had written right after Joe's dad's funeral about me lamenting that I only got to see this whole family, of which I was once a part of, at funerals (see Funerals and Sentimentality, but No Weddings), but never on happy occasions, and another reflective piece written last year on the anniversary of mine and Joe's breakup (see Seven Years). Of course these were some of the things that came up during our conversation, but there was a lot more.
We spent the two-plus hours catching up, doing a lot of reminiscing, and getting to know one another again. The whole thing just felt good. Sitting there and hearing her recall some of the things she remembers about me that I had forgotten gave me such a warm feeling inside...my little rendition of the "peanut butter jelly" song I sang endlessly one Thanksgiving, making the kids wiggle their butts whilst batting in a backyard baseball game, and me taking a page off my nana's book pretending to push their car out of the driveway whenever they'd leave after a visit. Knowing that those little things made an impact kinda make me feel like I do as a teacher...I'm pretty lucky to have had her and her sisters and her cousins to do those things with.
I learned all about the latest goings on in the family that I'd once been a part of, and as we spoke about each individual, memories came rushing through my brain and I was instantly missing them all. I guess I'm still feeling the same way as I was when I wrote that piece on funerals. These days, though, another person has taken my place, but little Miss Skylar reminded me that I am not ex-family...I am still family. Love you!