Meet “Pokey” short for Melanie..
In life family is so important, I try my best to spend as much time with them as I can. Melanie and I formed a close bond back in the early 80’s, it was a time in my life when circumstances were very difficult. My dad and the rest of my siblings had reasserted a new life after my mom passed away and moved to Texas. I choose to stay in Michigan with my Uncle Jim and Aunt Eleanor. (ugh I am supposed to be at Jim’s wedding in Traverse City right NOW, just wasn’t up to it, shhhhhh!) Any whooo I lived with the Panek family for 2 years while dad was off finding himself again as a single father in the valley.
Sure we had hard times, we fought, we loved, we made up…. It was a time in life when I was trying to figure where I belonged, fit in yano. I always knew I was different and the 2 years I spent with my cousins taught me a lot about what family is AND isn’t! I will tell you what it isn’t… You don’t shove your niece in the food pantry and call it a bedroom. You don’t keep your nieces support check every month and spend it on yourself and not her needs. You don’t withhold phone calls from her father to make her think she has been abandoned. You don’t supply Christmas gifts from the clearance rack for her while making her watch your kids open high end extravagant gifts. You don’t keep her isolated from her friends, thinking you know best. You don’t deny her grief counseling for the loss of her mother, while you get your hair and nails done with her support check….. So much more that happened that just furthered my ache for my dad to return and rescue me….. He did yano in 1984, I was so appreciative for his return and the reuniting with my core family…
Even though it was very difficult to be separated from my dad and siblings. I always looked up to Melanie and found myself sharing all my secrets with her. I remember our afternoon chats on her bed surrounded by all these “Peanut Gang” stuffed animals, her overly large Snoopy was my favorite. I told him many secrets too… I am grateful to have had the time to bond with her, it wasn’t perfect trust me!!! But I always liked her the best, she understood me and I needed that connection with someone.
As we grew into adults and lived separate lives her in Colorado me between Michigan and Florida. I always thought of her fondly and missed her. Years passed she and I both married and started a family, rare occasion that we would speak. The distance was great and our bond had faded. It was mere tragedy that reconnected us years later when her mother was killed in an accident. We now walked common ground again, both of us had lost our mothers in some strange waking it reconnected us. I remember running into Uncle Jim and my cousin Jason in the Home depot and they told me what had happened with Eleanor. I didn’t want to attend the funeral for personal reasons, but I DID want to reach out to Melanie in her loss. That’s when we found each other again, I am so thankful, damn I missed her.
Here we are now 2017 and she has come back to Michigan after living in Florida and Colorado for the past 27 years.. I am just so happy to have her here, family is the glue that holds me together in the worst of times I can ALWAYS count on them. Don’t ever forgot your roots or the way you were shaped by life experiences, making you YOU! Always appreciate the good and the bad, hold dear and close that which means the most too you. For me it will ALWAYS be family 🙂
#Familyfirst #kissingcousins #lifeandtimes #writing #memories