I am an only child, but if I had had a brother, his name would have been Peter.

Yes, Peter and Heidi. {Que the Swiss mountain with two children in lederhosen scaling to the top. The girl with curly blond hair and the boy with brown, wavy, short locks.}

So, I am a Peter-less Heidi, and at times it brought me great sadness to be so alone in my memories. I didn’t realize the depth of my sadness until I met my future husband and his extensive (awesome) family. He has three siblings, a bunch of aunts and uncles, and some cousins. They were what I dreamed. As a child, I would imagine who I’d marry, and he had three siblings with a sweet mom and an interesting dad. Well, I got my wish. Yet, it took me many years to dive into their family and to join them.

For the longest time I felt so isolated at family gatherings. They’d tell stories, reminisce, toss out pop culture references from the eighties, and tease one another. The feeling of comfort and known-ness put me off. Not only was I devoid of relating to peers like this, I grew up in a very conservative Christian household where rock music was from the devil and Christmas trees were too “pagan” to own. So, if someone brought up Footloose and Kevin Bacon, I met this information with “Uh…….” {It’s okay, I know the general plot to Footloose and that Kevin Bacon was the main character in the film.}

I think what I realized was that I don’t have a shared memory. I didn’t have people to call me up and say: what was the second grade teacher’s name at Gaston Elementary School?; sheesh, mom is acting nuts; I came across all of the VHS tapes you made of McGyver….. None of that. My memories are housed in my childhood books, in the few pictures I have, and some stories that escape when I talk to my dad on the phone. Other than that, my past was left behind when I left as an 18 year old.

McGyver IS my hero--Swiss army knife and duct tape included.

McGyver IS my hero–Swiss army knife and duct tape included.

Now I have stories I am a part of and can share over the turkey when we get gather as a family. My sister-in-law can recount how she was convinced I was not in labor with our first son, only to be called four hours later with Aiden safely ensconced in a blanket waiting to meet her, or how my love of McGyver prompted her to buy me a tank top for Christmas to celebrate this love–sarcasm totally welcome. And I do have a brother, my bro-in-law is an avid reader as am I, and our inner nerds commune often.

I think it is okay to forget. I think it is okay to feel a void and the loss of something that existed. With the forgetting is the newness of rediscovering or re-remembering a story. With the forgetting is the openness to what will be and what already is. In the forgetting, I can let go of the stories and let them be a part of me without holding them so tightly.

Here is the grace and the redemption: it is in the ever-evolving story where I am Heidi, and I realize that I don’t need a Peter.

A two year old, post-nap Heidi

A two year old, post-nap Heidi

Heidi in the seventies--good times.

Heidi in the seventies–good times.

Heidi baby chubs

Heidi baby chubs