We lived in the upper level of a blue Victorian home. My big brother Marco* had the smallest bedroom, allowing room for only his full size bed and a small dresser tucked inside a tiny closet. My nephew Jordan* had the bedroom through the kitchen and the bathroom. Literally, the only way into Jordan’s bedroom was through both the kitchen and bathroom. Pretty strange set up but Jordan was six at the time so it didn’t faze him too much. I got the biggest bedroom with a huge walk-in closet and large windows overlooking the neighboring white church.
It was our second apartment together since Marco divorced Jordan’s mom two years prior, and I got the big bedroom because I was paying part of the rent and taking care of Jordan while Marco worked the overnight shift.
My life was all about Jordan and Marco. Especially Jordan. I wanted to do whatever I could to provide him normalcy after his parents split. It was something I promised I would do after my own parents split 18 years prior. I was working a “going nowhere fast” job and playing Mom when I was home.
Basically, I was a 26-year-old single girl with no life outside of her 6-year-old nephew.
Around the holidays I did everything I could to make them special for Jordan. For his birthday, I made sure to always be present to celebrate. When he had field trips or some sort of school event that allowed for parent interaction, I was always there. Every soccer game, home or away, I was there. Every time he came home from a visit with him mom, I was always there.
And I did it all because of his love. His spirit. His innocence.
I would come home after a shit day at a shit job and all I would want to do is crawl into the dark closet with a blanket and a pint of chocolate-peanut butter ice cream. I’d salivate thinking about my lover (ice cream) during the long drive from work to home. Parking my car next to Marco’s, I knew that he and Jordan were inside and I knew, pretty instantly, my lover would have to wait. I’d go into the house and as I closed the door and hung up my coat wanting to be somewhere else hanging up my coat, I’d hear the scampering of feet across the living room floor upstairs. Jordan would rush toward the hallway and top of the stairs, shouting “Auntie Chris!” with so much glee.
I’d smile. Always.
I’d climb the stairs and upon getting to the top, Jordan would leap into my arms and we’d hug.
And every time this happened, I knew it was all worth it. My lack of a personal life, of friendships and/or romance was worth it. Because this boy, this sweet growing boy was happy. In a time when he could be miserable because of the games his parents played, he was happy.
And he made me happy.
And he soon became the reason I wanted to become a Mom with such a fever it burned inside of me for the next 10 years.
|Jordan and Lovie, 4/1/13|
And despite a pretty crappy hand in life dealt to him, the
boy man is still pretty happy and manages to make me and mine happy, too.
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*Marco & Jordan are not their real names.