To My Brother On His Wedding Day

To My Brother On His Wedding Day

I cried writing this and you know it.
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To you, my dear brother, on your wedding day,

Some people would describe their wedding day as a beautiful occasion. Many would describe it as the start of a wonderful, new chapter in their lives. I would describe your wedding day as, what I can only imagine will be, one of the most amazing days of my life.

I can see it now: the sun is shining high in the sky. The waves are crashing down on the shore. You're standing at the end of the aisle as Erin approaches you in the most extravagant, white dress I've ever seen. Mom and dad are sitting in the front row. Dad has his arm around mom's shoulder as she sobs hysterically that her baby boy is all grown up. Cory and I smile at each other across the way, knowing that you are about to do something utterly magnificent. Mom is now crying so much that the priest cannot speak over her. You're so embarrassed, but you don't even care because you know just how happy she is. You know how happy she is because you feel it, too. She's so proud of the man that you have become. We all are.

Growing up with you by my side has been quite the roller coaster, but I can honestly say that I would not want it any other way. Do you remember the weekend that I was in the hospital, Cory's school had a bomb threat, and you were on vacation and got into a car accident? Dad remained calm, but mom didn't know what to do with herself, so she just sat in the hallway and cried. That was the first time in my life that I ever realized that I couldn't imagine my life without you and Cory. When we were younger, I never had to go very far to find my best friends. I already miss holiday mornings with you and Cory at mom's house: waking up early just to creep through the house and scan for hidden Easter eggs or to see who's stocking was more full on Christmas morning. I get sad whenever we have a party and you're not there because you're with Erin's family. Then I realize that I need to learn to share the wealth, because her family deserves something as good as you, too. Who could have ever guessed that that job interview at T.G.I. Friday's would be just the beginning of one of the best things to ever happen to you?

Today, I am sad. I am sad that you are leaving me to go with her. I am sad that we don't share a kitchen table anymore. I am sad when I look outside and don't see your car in the driveway, but today I am also happy. I am happy that you got that crummy job when you were in college. I am happy that you found Erin. I am happy that you asked me to share this day with you, but most importantly, I am so happy to be your sister.

Today is huge. Today is incredible. Your time has come. Erin is going to look so beautiful and you are going to make her so happy. Mom and dad always told me that I was more like you than I would ever know. Today and everyday I really hope they are right. Thank you for being the role model that always tells me to follow my heart. Thank you for motivating me to get my act together whenever I thought a nap was a better decision than filling out a scholarship application. Thank you for continuously leading the way and protecting me. Thank you for finally giving me a sister, and one so great I could never have imagined. Thank you for being one of my best friends for the past 21 years. Thank you for loving me unconditionally.

I hope that today is the best day of your young life. I hope that you work harder at this family than you ever have at anything before. I hope that you have never been happier than you are right now. I am grateful for you and the time that we spend together, even if you don't save me from the creepy, old, mafia men who try to dance with me at charity events. I am so blessed that whoever is in charge of the wild ride that we call life has given me someone like you to struggle through it with. There is no one I would rather procrastinate with. There is no one I would rather drive nearly 3 hours to see a terrible Fetty Wap concert with. There is no one I would rather play Boopa Bellies with, or watch America's Got Talent with, or consistently show up late with. Now Let's get sloppy drunk and celebrate all that there is to celebrate.

I love you so much more than you know.

Nikki

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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My Boyfriend's Family Helped Me Find My Home Away From Home

Taking "home is where the heart is" to a new level.

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I have always heard that one day I will find a place that will feel like my home away from home, specifically with my significant other. Honestly, I couldn't envision loving a place like the way I do my hometown, let alone love it even more. Nonetheless, here I am, sitting in the Little Rock, Arkansas airport tearing up as I say goodbye to my home away from home.

Let me tell you about my hometown. I live in a relatively small town in Wyoming and it has always been my home. My family, friends and work are here in Wyoming. But, there happens to be this man who has my whole entire heart. His hometown is a little town in Arkansas, that also happens to be 17 hours away from me. I came to visit him in his hometown for the first time ever. Not only to see Arkansas for the first time but to see him for the first time in a month and to have the opportunity to meet his family.

I won't lie, meeting parents for the first time is definitely nerve-wracking. It's not that I am hard to get along with, it's the fact that I want them to love me because I love their son and I couldn't conceptualize that ever changing. From the moment I stepped into their home, I was welcomed with big arms and beautiful smiles. His family welcomed me, a complete stranger, into their home with no questions asked. Right away I knew I felt like I was home.

Finding your home away from home is easy to recognize. Home is a place full of love and laughter and that is what I found in Arkansas. It was a second home that I felt comfortable in. Feeling comfortable somewhere is not always the easiest feeling to grasp. For me, I feel the need to be in a comfortable place to be myself and call it "home."

I believe that it is essential for everyone to have a "second home" or a "home away from home." Having a second family can and does provide so much more love in my life I never knew I needed. I of course do and always will love and adore my family with my whole heart and soul but having these other people in my life gives me so much assurance that I'll always be surrounded with love and happiness. You can never have too many friends, too much family and certainly never too much love. So thank you. Thank you for welcoming me, loving me as your own, and showing me that having a home away from home is such a positive part of my life.

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