With my existence came the completion to my family. Dad, mom, two sisters and myself. Pretty tight knit and that’s how it stayed. The entire childhood of my two sisters and myself was spent living in the same house in the same small town in Newfoundland. We all watched as the town dwindled from a population of upwards of a thousand to less than 400 people by the time I reached my teens. Schools closed and with each closure, we were bused to the nearest one further away. My sisters and I went to the same elementary school and had pretty well the same teachers. When I was in grade 7, my sisters were in Grades 10 and 12 respectively. The school we attended for this year was a 7-12-grade located just minutes from our house and just steps away from where our mom worked. The total number of students here was 99. In my class, 9. Of course, as expected, this was the last year for this school and upon my oldest sister’s graduation, me and my younger sister were bused 40 minutes until her graduation, in which that school closed and for my last two years, was bused 45 minutes away.
Looking through photos of camping trips, birthdays, visitors and regular summer days, the people in the photos were often the same. Family friends, neighbours and relatives, as well as the ongoing theme of the five of us and the numerous pets we had at the time. I guess the point of all of this is to emphasize the consistency of the dimensions of my family. Despite me being the one that lives the furthest away (I’m the only one that lives out of the home province), in my mind, there was always myself, two sisters and my parents. This past Christmas, we were all together in the same room for a brief couple of hours on Christmas day. That might have been the first time in two or three years that that happened.
Late last year, the dynamics began to change up just a little bit. After nearly 27 years, one of my sister’s got engaged. Comparing our family to the siblings of my parents, the dynamics stayed the same for a lot longer than normal. But with that means that the idea of me, my two sisters and my parents would now change to include a brother-in-law. Last night, I received news that I was going to be an uncle. For a lot of my friends, that doesn’t seem to be a huge deal. I might attribute that to be because my friends’ parents are separated, re-married, step-siblings and half-siblings and the like, so their family dynamic has already previously been shifted before. But for me, it completely changes my dynamic. The idea of there being the five of us now extends itself to being a full six (plus the spouses, of course).
When I was younger and thought about all of us being older, I always imagined my younger sister (who is older than myself) being the first one to have a child. She was the one who was into dolls and that sort of thing. So of course when I was told I was going to be an uncle, my first guess was that she was the one, especially since she was already engaged. But I was floored when it turned out to be my oldest sister. My sister who loves skiing, camping, fishing and everything that involves being outdoors in the wild. Once I got past the huge shock, I’ve come to decide that I’m delighted! Though likely not as delighted as my mom, who’s badly wanted a grandchild for probably five years now. I’ve always wanted a little brother growing up. That didn’t happen. This certainly isn’t comparable as the next best thing because I’m as old as I am, but it’s another dimension. Another dynamic to my idea of what (or who) makes up my family. There’ll be me, my two sisters, my parents and a nephew or niece (plus the in-laws 😛 ).