It was the craziest thing. I didn’t even really see it coming.
It happened while we were at the Willis Family Reunion in Utah. (More on that very soon) Grant and I, and his parents arrived in Park City for the reunion on Friday afternoon. His sister Holley was expected to arrive later that evening with her four children, ages 2-12. Although I hadn’t yet met Holley, it sounded to me like she was most likely something like super woman, driving across the country (from Ohio to Utah) with four kids in the car, all for the reunion.
Holley & Co. arrived as the sun was setting on Friday evening. Mackenzie, Logan, Joelle, and Emma all jumped out of the van, eager to stretch their legs and excited to see their grandparents and uncle Grant. Naturally, they were initially shy and reserved upon meeting me, the stranger named Brittany who would soon be marrying their uncle and staying with them this weekend.
I’m not sure exactly when it happened, if it was the night they arrived or the next morning, but all of a sudden and so unexpectedly, they started calling me “Aunt Brittany.” I don’t know why I was so taken back by it initially, maybe because i’m so technical and so literal, so I didn’t expect to be their aunt until after we got married. Kids are pretty good at surprises though, and becoming an aunt to Mackenzie, Logan, Joelle, and Emma was one of my favorite surprises of the weekend.
The rest of the time we got to spend with them was so fun. Kids are just so honest. One night, as they were getting ready for bed, Logan said to me, “Brittany, I am so happy you are in our family.” Heart. Melted. He is such a sweetheart and so kind to his sisters and his family. He loved playing games with everyone, and we loved watching him.
Mackenzie, the oldest of the four might be the kindest, most mature, and even-natured 12 year old I have ever met. We got to play volleyball with her in the yard (she has some serious potential) and talk with her about her upcoming school year. They are all moving to Idaho right now, and she is starting a new school. She said she is most looking forward to being close to family with the move. She didn’t ever say anything negative about moving, leaving friends, etc., and she was so good with her younger siblings, especially little Emma. I am excited to get to watch her grow up.
Sweet Joelle, had so much energy. She was always so excited to see us and to do anything with us. To celebrate her recent baptism, Grant and I got her a picture of the Savior to hang in her new room and gum. (Holley said she loves gum, haha) I told her it was my favorite artwork of the Savior (because it goes with the scriptures in Matthew 18:12-13), and that I have the picture as well, and so now we will both have it in our homes. Can you tell she was thrilled?
I didn’t get much bonding time with sweet little Emma, but i’m sure when she starts talking more, she be just as sweet and lovable as her older siblings. Right now, I’m content with her cuteness…
Becoming Aunt Brittany was such a sweet and unexpected surprise. What a blessing it is to become part of a family that has already accepted and loved me so completely. I can’t wait for the next time we get to see their sweet faces. Until then, we will enjoy other expressions of their love.
A while after we returned to Minneapolis, Holley forwarded this instant message Joelle sent to her.
I am so lucky.