So, I mentioned last week how I have lots of significant people in my life whose names start with the letter A. So today is part 2 of “A”!
Alesha, you thought I had forgotten you, huh?
To my favorite cousin, Alesha.
I’ve always been drawn to you, as have most other people. You have always been a role model, a cheerleader and an encourager to me. Even when your life wasn’t in tip-top shape, I still wanted to look up to you and make you proud.
We are cousins. But we are also friends.
I think I’ve always looked up to you. When we were young, you were so cool to me.
I’ll never forget the year that you came out to be the dorm assistant. I felt so luck and so cool that I was related to you. I loved coming to your apartment and knowing that you were my cousin. You taught me how to put on makeup, and you were always so kind to me even when I was SOOOO annoying. So, SO, SOOOO annoying.
Years later, I was much more grown up and you were hitting all those stages that I knew I eventually wanted to be in. You got married (while we were still in Africa, and I can’t ever forgive you for that). Then, you had Shane. And I loved, loved watching you be a Mom. You were so helpful, thoughtful, selfless, full of information. Next came Azaria and you still rocked motherhood. You taught me so much before I even became a Mom. Like, how to wear a baby. That breastfeeding in America can be normal, too. How to entertain your child and how to rock them to sleep and all of that!
Then, I got pregnant with Tera. And just a few months after telling you that I was pregnant, you found out about the twins. And we got to pregnant together.
I vividly remember one night when Tera was two months old. She was crying and crying and crying. Theo was at work and I was at my wit’s end. I had no idea what to do to make her stop crying. So I called you. And I cried and cried and complained and moaned and you walked me calmly through several things I could do to get her stop to crying. After we had finished talking, you said, “I need to go now because I’m having the twins in the morning and I need to get sleep”. There you were, 38 weeks pregnant with twins, getting induced the next day, after months of contractions and no sleep and you took the 10 minutes to talk to me on the phone, calm me down, walk me through calming Tera down…all while not belittling me for my unnecessary freakout.
And that’s exactly how you are. You are one of the few people who will listen without judgment and offer truthful but needed advice. When Tera was just a few months old, you moved just a few miles away. I was really struggling with motherhood. I was struggling to sleep and to figure out breastfeeding and how to bond. And I’d come over to your house and cry about all my “problems”. And you listened. And helped. And encouraged. All while you had your own four children, sleepless nights, breastfeeding problems and a deployed husband.
Basically, I just want to say that I really admire you. I know that you think you are deeply flawed, but all the people around you don’t feel that way. You are an incredible listener, a very wise woman, an incredible wife and Mom, and you are an incredible encourager.
I am so thankful that we are not only cousins, but friends, too.