Thursday, September 22, 2011

15 Day Challenge, Day 7

Oh, this might take a while.
You see, I not only have my parents and siblings, but I'm also blessed to have my husband's parents and siblings to call my own. And I totally do.
Because we come from "broken" families, which is just a ridiculous way to say our parent's divorced instead of saying something much more positive like..
We come from an extended family of additional pieces glued back together to make one awesomely, unique item that we wouldn't trade for the world.
So, go ahead and grab you a bowl of popcorn because like I said this may take a while.
I'll start though with my side of the equation.
 My Mom
This is what 41 weeks pregnant looks like..
Me, not mom.
And this is what proud looks like.
She is one of the most generous, kind, hilarious, ditzy, beautiful, compassionate people I know. She's also battled with alcoholism nearly her entire life. A struggle I witnessed first-hand growing up, while working 2-3 jobs as a single mom still willing to spend her last few dollars to buy her daughter a pair of name-brand athletic shoes for track so she wouldn't be made fun of. Or helping me sneak out the house for my  first dance because her boyfriend didn't think it was appropriate at 6th grade to me go to one. All the while keeping it hush-hush with well-placed smiles and winks.
When people say it isn't a disease, they've never been around it. They've never talked to someone who struggles with it. They simply don't understand the downward spiral and how it affects every aspect of your life. She's also a victim of domestic violence. One night, it escalated. Her or him. The gun found him. She was sent to prison for manslaughter, and I lost my mom for nearly 4 years of my life. First boyfriends, getting caught for sneaking in late, proms, high school graduation, tears of sadness and joy as she dropped me off at my dorm on my first week of college..it didn't happen.
She's out now, and despite everything she's been through she's still such a warm-hearted spirit. While we both have our faults, she's never wavered in her love for me, Alfred, my sister or brother and definitely not in her first granddaughter, Lillie.
She's my mom and I love her more than words can express. Through her I've learned to appreciate what life hands me, the good or the bad, because through it all family is something you can always count on.
My Dad and Sandra
My mom and dad divorced when I was young and we ended up moving around a lot. We didn't see Dad or Sandra much from it. Which really sucks because they're both amazingly loving people. They've been together something like 20 years, which is amazing to me. They've figured it out. I hope Alfred and I can boast that number someday. Both my dad and I sing to ourselves, something I didn't realize until I was older. He's somewhat of a pack-rat, I have the same problem.
Even though we missed out a few years together, he's my daddy and he's definitely one-of-a-kind. I love him for it.
My Older Brother, Jeremy
Surprise!
It's true, I actually have an older brother that many of you may not know about. Technically, he's my half-brother (different mom) but trust me when I say he's all awesome. We didn't grow up together and in all honesty, if it weren't for facebook we'd probably know next to nothing about each other. Except the few memories of me stepping on his heels trying to keep up with him at Granny's house. But thanks to social networking we do, he was in the army and now he's learning how to build guitars. He finally met his niece last month and my husband, and it completely freaks me out how much he looks like my little (full) brother, and how much both of them look just like my dad. Our genes are strong.
My Little Sister, Amber
My first best friend.
The charisma just drips off this girl.She's the type of person that you meet once, for say 2 minutes, in the grocery store line and then 20 minutes later you're like "Damn, I wish she was my best friend. I totally should look her up on facebook and silently stalk her until we can 'randomly' meet again. Yes, that is what I shall do."
Photo Courtesy of  Courtney Tande,
who did a wonderful job capturing my beautiful sister and niece
Yes, she is honestly that awesome.She is beyond gorgeous, hilarious, caring, spontaneous (she decided to move to Colorado just because - who does that?!) and in less than a month will be blessed with a beautiful baby girl. There are no words to describe how much I miss and love her. And how proud I am of the person she has grown to be and is becoming.
My Little Brother, Richard
He is one of the most artistically talented people I know. He's been drawing since he practically busted out of the womb (from what my mom says was at a whopping 10 lbs!). He does his own tattoos, laughs with me at our twisted sense of humor and used to sing Pretty Fly for a White Guy at the top of his lungs with me.
And yes, we both knew/know all the words.
 He once swallowed a tack, turned blue and had a tracheotomy in our living room. I can still play that whole night in slow motion in my head. It physically hurts me to think I almost lost him, even now. I wish that he too didn't live states away from me.
Big Alfred & Betty
Alfred's dad and Betty started dating shortly after he and I started. So, they have 10 years going strong. I can call them at any time and know they'll be there, no matter what.
When we told them we were pregnant (they had been bugging us for years), we were on vacation together. Las Vegas for one night (not nearly long enough!) and then onward to a ski lodge. We ended up buying them key chains that said grandma and grandpa. They said thank you. We just sat there. About 2 minutes later Betty was like "Wait. Are you guys trying to tell us something? No wonder you didn't want to split a wine cooler with me!" It was a pretty great trip and they can't wait for the day when we can take Lillie on one.
Kathy & James
When I first met Alfred's mom, she greeted me with a huge hug like she knew me and I remember thinking,"Wow, what an awesome way to meet someone for the first time" and then she threw this bombshell on us-"How's your mom?"
Yep, she knew my mom and actually has pictures of me when I was little. The kicker is neither Alfred or myself knew this, and seeing as I used to live in Texas but moved and came back to the same area but had no clue we were like weird. Even then though, Alfred and I thought if we ever moved past the dating stage that it'd be cool to share that little story with our kids - and now that we have Lillie we'll be able too.
James I can't say enough good things about. He's PapPaw to our Lillie and keeps her while I work, he hates it when she's dirty (No cheetos!) and I can promise you if you're going to play any type of sport, you want him on your team. This man knows how to get the job done. Dirt, scraped knees be damned, he's getting that volleyball over the net.
Larry, Christi, Austin, Luke
& Anita and Parker

Alfred's the youngest in his family, the oldest is his brother Larry, probably the most technologically advanced person I know. He lost his wife, Christi, a few years ago in a car accident. There's not a day that goes by that I don't wish I knew her better. They have two sons, Austin and Luke - a couple of the smartest kids I've ever met. And now we have Anita and her son, Parker, in our family. Anita has one awesome sense of humor and fits in well with our family dynamic. We give her a hard time, I mean she can't help it she's from Are-Kansas.
Lisa, Steven, Kendall, Jack
Alfred's oldest sister and her family always getting a thumbs up in my book. We actually bought our home (at an awesome price) from them a few years back (and a great bedroom suite!) and if you're not being laughed at, they obviously don't like you.
I remember once years ago we went to get a pedicure, well, I kinda have big feet, and we were sitting there. Lisa, LaChrisa (see below) and me when the young man working on my toes said,
"Oh, you so easy to paint toes, they so big."
My eyes widened with fear. I picked my head up slowly, cautiously, hopeful that Al's sister's hadn't heard this and there was Lisa's face.
Lisa's face with the biggest smile EVER.
It was pretty much hilarious.
So, yep, I'm the one with the huge feet and I love it.
Which by the way, Lisa, how's the training going, if you catch my drift? :)
LaChrisa, Beau, Taylor, Taitlyn
Alfred's older, but not oldest, sister, LaChrisa. Probably the most like me as far as humor goes. We crazy dance, we plot out our route and run for great sales during Black Friday (walkie talkie anyone?) and she gets it when I complain about her brother. She's also a natural redhead, which I'm slightly jealous of, seeing as I love my hair red. (I actually am not sure what my real hair color is.) Her youngest daughter, Taitlyn, and Lillie were just baptised together.As someone who grew up without a lot of family around due to the moving, I really am grateful that Lillie has this wonderful family that cares and loves her so much.

And because this is my blog and I can, I have a couple other people to mention that are family. Blood or not.
Randy & Vicki
My cousins, who took my brother, sister and I in during a time in our life where we could have easily been lost in the system. We had some rough times learning to be kids, and them in a sense learning to be parents (I think about it now and they were in their late 20s like me with a 16, 13 and 12 year old - damn, they're practically saints!) I'm incredibly grateful to them for all they've done for us and continue to do. Especially now that they're Lillie's Godparents and are doing a rocking job at it.
Billy Joe, Jan, Janna & Jamie
I have literally known, been a part of, this family since in the womb. When we heard the news about my mom, this family was our family and let us stay with them for as long as we could (before we moved in with Randy and Vicki). Taking care of 5 kids, 2 starting high school, 2 in middle school and 1 in elementary I have no idea how they didn't lose their schmidt. Even through all our moves, the one consistent thought and friend I knew I always had was Janna. We've had our ups and downs, but I'm proud to say she's still one of my besties and will be forever. There's no doubt in my mind.
It was the 90s, give us a break!

Emilie & Justin
Our best friends.
Emilie is mine.
Justin is Alfred's.
Vice Versa.
Seriously, we are so close that at one point Emilie's co-workers thought we were swingers.
{Is it weird that I kind of think of that as a compliment?}
We have a date night every week (sometimes two), where we watch whatever, eat whatever, bitch about whatever (all in commercial breaks because we recognize that talking during our show is unacceptable). These date nights aren't included in whatever our weekend escapades may be. We have the type of relationship that if we are in the wrong about something, we call the other out on it, laugh about it and then move on. We talk practically every day. If we don't, the next day usually starts out with a text, phone-call, email along the lines of
I feel like it's been forever!
We recognize we have a problem. Don't judge us.
We have a hard time finding new friends because no one gets us like they do.
Sometimes we roll our eyes at each other, but we'll always be willing to shank a bitch for the other.
And that's my family. Slightly extended but fully wonderful.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I usually read this on my phone and am actually on a computer to leave a comment. I am so very glad I found this blog because reading your creations make my heart lighter and happy...I love them to say the least..

Angie

Mojo said...

I was just reading this and thinkingI sing to myself too! Miss you guys tons! I'll be back home soon to spend some time with you guys!!

Jeremy

The Lehmann's said...

Angie, thank you so much for your kind words and leaving a comment! You've definitely made my Friday a bit brighter by doing so!

Jeremy - this morning Lillie was eating breakfast (Kix & Cheerios) and she threw her milk on the ground, well I refused to pick it up, and she started fake crying and I came up with this little diddy -
You're a liar, You're a liar, just a little baby, such a fake crier...
You're a liar!

And yes, there was dancing involved.
Let us know when you're home so we can get together again! Miss you and can't wait to see some of your guitars!