Thursday, February 09, 2012

Love Month - Tammy

There was a time in my life when I thought that if my family had to take a vote and boot somebody out it would be me. No matter how the story started in my head it always ended with me on the street. Now I must be clear, there was never really anything big that any member of my family did to make me feel this way but for whatever reason that is how I decided to feel. Then my freshman year of college I realized I was wrong. I would like to share the story of the first time I realized I was an important part of my family. I was somebody they valued, cared about, loved, and most importantly that I loved them too. My oldest sister Kerri got married when I was a junior in high school. I remember being so excited for her wedding and wishing that I lived closer to her so I could help plan. I loved visiting her and Darin, my brother-in-law, and having them visit me and my mom, by that time all of my siblings had moved out. When I was getting ready to move to college they came and my brother-in-law taught me how to change a flat tire and check the oil in my car. That year they found out they were going to be having a baby. I was so excited, I was going to be an aunt for the very first time. I would call Kerri almost every week to see what she was craving and how her doctors appointments were going and each week I would ask what they were going to name her. She would always say that they weren't sure. The time finally came. My niece was born! My sister called me to tell me to come meet her and of course I asked what they had named her. She wouldn't tell me. I left as soon as I was able to get away from classes and made the two hour drive to my sister's hospital room. I saw that sweet baby laying in the hospital bassinet with her tiny hands clasped together. I instantly wanted her to know how much I cared about her. I instantly wanted to do every thing in my power to protect her. I instantly wanted to tell her all about life and the things that really mattered. I loved that little girl and yet my sister still wouldn't tell me her name. Kerri told me there was a card on her bassinet that had her name written on it and I had to read it to find out. The name on the card was Madison Jill Elam. To you it may should like any other name. But to me, Tamara Jill Markland, it meant that I was such a valued part of the family that we needed to have somebody named after me just in case I ever disappeared. In that moment I realized how many times my family tried to show me they loved me. I finally understood how much I loved them and I decided that I would try my hardest to not hold back my love for other people. To me love is; forgiving and forgetting, focusing on the positive, protecting, caring, listening, hugging, laughing, sharing, growing, being patient, and naming children after another person. It has been almost 10 years since Madison was born. In that time I have had many many experiences when I have felt pure love from and for family, friends and even strangers. I will be forever grateful that Kerri named her first daughter Madison JILL so that I could understand love.
Tammy Markland