My Imaginary Family

From the day I was born, my brothers have called me George. It infuriated me when I was a child. “I’m a girl!” I would yell at them. They didn’t seem to care. When I was four years old I asked my mom why they called me George. She said that when she was pregnant, my brothers wanted me to be a boy and to be named George. She claimed that they were happy I was a girl and they just liked to tease me, but I had my doubts.

‍            Ever since that day I’ve longed for a sister, an ally in my house.‍I was four‍I began to pester my mom about it. I would follow her around begging her for a sister.

“Pleaaaaaseeee Mommy!”

“I’m sorry hunny, no. You already have two brothers, why don’t you play with them?”

‍            Her constant rejection never stopped my determination though. I kept at it, day after day. I can see now why she wouldn’t give in. Having three kids under the age of eight is hard and I was asking her to add a fourth. Close to giving up on my dream, I sat at the bottom of my stairs and began to think about what would it would be like if my mom actually gave me a sister.

********

“I’m pregnant!” she announced. My brother’s faces fell to the ground while I jumped to my feet and begin to dance around the room. I paused for a moment only to say “it better not be a boy”.

Nine months later and my mother gave birth to a healthy 7 pound 5 ounce baby girl named Jessica. the help of my dad, I held Jessica in my arms for the first time in the hospital and smiled widely while my older brothers grimaced in the corner looking depressed. that day forward Jessica and I were inseparable.

Twenty-two years later, with a fat rock on my ring finger, I asked Jessica to be my maid of honor. “Of course!” she exclaimed. “On one condition, I have to meet him soon.” Jessica had been away at Yale studying literature for the last few years and still had not met my fiancé Ken.

The next Friday with beer that kept coming and steaming hot steak, Ken and Jessica met. I was excited two of the most important people in my life were finally meeting and the night was amazing. At the end of the night, with her alcohol breath almost too much for me to handle, Jessica whispered in my ear, “Jenna, I like him. You’ll be happy.”

‍            The next day the wedding planning began. We walked from florist to florist hoping to find some inspiration (or a deal) in one of the local shops. Over the next few months she was with me through every detail. When my dress was let out too much, she made sure I didn’t yell at everyone in sight. When my cake designer couldn’t see my vision for the design I wanted, she explained it to him calmly.‍And when my father told me he could not make it, she held me as I cried.

‍I was at a loss. my father couldn’t be there, because of a 3-month-long work trip that would take him to Italy, who would walk me down the aisle? ‘My mom could I suppose’ I thought to myself. ‘Or I could walk by myself. Show my independence.’ Neither of those options were what I envisioned. And then it dawned on me. I had brothers!

Scott, Sean and I had always been close. Well at least since the 7th grade when they stopped calling me George. I went to college with Scott and lived two blocks away from Sean, which made it easy for the four of us to meet for lunch every Saturday. As much as I wanted my father to walk me down the aisle, this would be just as good. They had protected me and loved me just as my father had.

The next day at lunch I asked my both brothers to walk me down the aisle. “It would be an honor,” Scott said.

The night before my wedding I sat with my two older brothers and little sister by the hotel pool. We drank bud lights all-night and talked about growing up in our crazy house. It’s a strange concept to think of, not having any childhood memories without your siblings in it. As we sat there trying to remember one significant memory free from other and‍I realized how far we’ve come and how close we’ve gotten.

That morning‍morning I woke up with a jump. My wedding day, finally! With Jessica by my side, I got dressed in my white-as-snow mermaid gown, my hair pinned up real tight in a bun that looked loose but was anything but, and my makeup was done so precisely and beautifully you’d swear it was my real face. ‍

Before I walked down the aisle to my new life my brothers pulled me aside. “Dad would kill us if we didn’t do this,” Scott whispered. “Are you sure you want to marry him? We can go out the back door if you want, no questions asked.”

I nodded and told him I was sure. Ken was the man of my dreams. As I took Scott’s arm in my left hand and Sean’s in my right and began walking down the aisle towards Ken, saw Jessica shed one small tear,‍and felt both my brothers squeeze my hands. I walked toward my future husband and my baby sister and knew that the future was bright.

********

My mother came down the steps to where I was sitting and realizing I would never get a little sister. “Are you ok sweetheart?” She asked me. “I just can’t have another baby, I hope you understand.”

“I do mommy”, I replied. “I think I’ll be ok with having two big brothers. As long as they stop calling me George.”

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