I get the question if you’re an only child, how do you have siblings a lot. It’s a fair question. I have a relaxed definition of family, by society’s standards; my definition is Biblical. My favorite verse is Proverbs 17:17. It says: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Let me take everybody back to September 2011. It was early morning, somewhere in the 5 AM hour. I was asleep, and I heard a voice say: “Help your brother. He needs you.” What? The exact words were repeated. I’ve had, throughout my life since age 8, vivid dreams on and off. This dream, like the vivid ones always do, woke me up. This one stuck, however. The longer I laid quietly, the more I had questions. I started to pray. I asked lots of questions.
I fell back asleep, afterwards, and when I got up the dream was on repeat, in my mind. I went through my day, as planned, but I couldn’t shake the feeling I was missing something. I texted one of my best friends, who is now my journey partner, the following: Has today been strange for you, or is it just me? The response was immediate, which clued me in, without reading, at least somewhat. We agreed to talk at 9PM that night.
At 9PM, my phone rang, as planned. “Hey Stace.” Hey. Do you want to go first, or should I? “Fill me in first.” Okay… you asked for it. When I stopped talking, I got silence for a minute. “Wow.” Yeah, wow, indeed. “No, you don’t understand how wow this is.” Okay, so fill me in. He did. Afterwards, we both sat in silence just processing. Woah, I said. It’s you I’m supposed to help. “I believe so.” So we’re family, now? “Are you good with that?” We both said yes, at almost, the same time, that conversation changed our lives.
Over time, the family that I get to choose has grown. My siblings have different: backgrounds, beliefs (political/religious), vocations, education, family dynamics, stories, and perspectives. When I either make a formal ask, or if just feels natural, I trust my instincts. Some have come and gone out of my life; because life is fluid.
I’m still learning to be okay with that fact. Generally, people with CP don’t like change. I’m the poster child for that particular aspect. My siblings help with that, and countless other things. They push me to be better and they are right there to pick me up when I fall (literally and metaphorically). They demand I thrive with CP and be myself. They love me unconditionally, even the parts I don’t like, they are huge blessings. It is my absolute privilege to be a sister to such amazing souls, and give them back what they give me.