I was born in the throes of summer, the day Acton arrived in England , setting the world record for sailing the globe solo. I was the first girl born into my family in nearly 6 generations. I was greeted by my oldest brother, who we fondly called Aleko, and my brother P. I spent my childhood with 4 brothers: Aleko, P, S, and M. My father was a teacher at a strict catholic school, an all boys school, that I attended thru primary. My mother worked in fashion. My brother Aleko was the best big brother anyone could ask for. We adored him, and it killed us when he was unable to be with us, which was often. Aleko had Cystic Fibrosis. In the 80s, there was little to be done about the disease, which caused thick mucus to build up in several organs, including the lungs. The disease kept Aleko small, and people actually thought him and one of our younger brothers were twins, the disease also limited what he could handle, physically. He slept on the second floor, while the rest of us slept on the 3rd floor, because even going up one set of stairs could leave him out of breath.
Our childhoods were subdued. When Aleko was home, we read books, played board games, and kept our activities minimal. When he was sick was the only time we played sports around the house, and rough housed and such. There was a sense of guilt among us, we felt horrid about acting in front of him activities he couldn't do.
When Aleko took his final turn for the worst, P and S became withdrawn. M was just a little guy, barely out of preschool, and didn't understand what was happening. Aleko left this world at the tender age of 12, with the wisdom and love of someone 5x his age. That was the point where my relationship with P and S severed, never quite regaining that connection we had in our youth.
My parents took his death especially hard, as even knowing the prognosis, no one ever is prepared to lose their child.
Over the next several years following his death, my youngest brother was born, my parent's marriage fell to shambles, they got divorced, and I got pregnant.
My pregnancy was the result of a naive catholic girl's act of rebellion (with my best friend) against a situation I couldn't control; and I plead ignorance (at the time) to the knowledge that certain activities lead to babies (Yay for Catholic school upbringing)!
At the point in time that my parents found out I was pregnant, my mother had just moved to Paris for her job, and my father was realizing that the Roman Catholic church (He had been a straight laced catholic all his life) was not as receptive to our new conditions as he'd hoped. He didn't talk to me for a year. And, yes, we lived in the same house that entire time.
I was effectively mothering my younger brothers, schooling, and preparing for my own child, barely a teenager myself. In the early winter of '94, I brought my daughter into the world, unwillingly-drug-free, and with just a nurse, as the doctor was out of town (that always seems to happen, doesn't it?).
My father couldn't stay mad forever, as he held his first grandchild, but it took several more months before our relationship returned to any semblance of its former self. The boys, Teenager, and I spent summer break with my mother in Paris, and upon returning to England, P stayed behind in France.
I must clarify quickly: my parents never stopped loving each other. Their relationship continues on several levels, still. Some of those levels I shall never be able to burn out of my eyes. They have just been unable to live in the same house, or even on the same continent, since my brother died.
I guess it works to their advantage now, as they have been able to pursue their dreams, and none of us have really suffered the worse for it.
After finishing up secondary, I got accepted into university in the US. Hesitant to leave my brothers and my daughter, my mother took care of her, so I could focus on my schooling whilst away. There were many transatlantic visits, which eased the separation.
After finishing at university, I got accepted into the law program, and stated in Mass for a few more years. That was my first real experience in America, and my mates made sure I dabbled in a little bit of everything. Much to E's dismay, I fell in love with the Red Sox during my time there, and went to quite a few games (E is a Yankees fan). After finishing law school, I got a job offer in Illinois and gladly accepted it. Teenager loved her school and friends, so I let her make the decision to stay in France, which actually worked out amazingly, as my job to me to Europe often, and I got to see her a lot, and she would spend her breaks with me in Illinois.
I eventually met E, we were engaged in April 2009 (Much to my father's dismay), pregnant a month later (Even more to my father's dismay, ans he realized I wasn't backing out), married that September, and life has been (for the most part) amazing since.