I was four years old and everyone around me was so happy that my older sister was getting married. I was really excited, my big sisters were all going to wear beautiful gowns, and my older brother a tiny tux made for a six-year-old. And then there was me, the baby of the family, I was going to be the flower girl, and we were going to celebrate my sister’s special day in the best way that anyone knew how. My dress was an off-white, with flowers and beige trim, the trim matched the men’s tuxedos.
In all the hub-bub of preparation I never once realized that our family would never again be the same. I had three sisters, the two oldest, thirteen and fourteen years older than me, where mini moms, and my other sister, nine years older than me was like a young aunt that protected me when the older sisters couldn’t. Here we were lined up in an awkward display of celebratory bliss in front of a church full of people, who adjusted uncomfortably in the metal folding chairs. Dad’s Uncle Ed was the presiding pastor and he assured all of us that God was looking over this day with an abundance of happiness, but he never mentioned that my family would never be the same again.
When the rice was thrown I was enamored with awe, the sun glistening off the little slabs of white rice as it rained down on the bride and groom. Everyone gathered around, kisses, hugs, and lots of pictures of what our family was. Cameras captured the new beginnings for my sister and brother-in-law, but they didn’t capture the turmoil I felt when my miniature Mom left with her husband to head off to Berlin, Germany, where he was stationed with the U.S. Army.
A few days after all of the festivities we, as a family, gathered at a gate in a terminal at Philadelphia International Airport, to see the newlyweds off to begin their lives. And I mourned my loss, I wasn’t ready to be raised on my own yet, I wanted all the extra Mommy’s I could have.
It didn’t take long for me to begin to dream what he would be like to be in Germany, in fact, my mom helped the thought process; when I would misbehave she would threaten to pack me in a box and ship me to Germany. This became a desirable alternative to live without my other Mom.
Tina and Joe would send us packages from Germany, I remember one box included my first ever Barbie doll. But I learned then, no amount of gifts can buy a person’s love. The heartache I felt was insurmountable, until my parents told us Tina and Joe would be returning stateside, I knew our family would be whole again. No one bothered to tell me they would be living in their own place, without me.