The Next Best Thing

When I married Joe I gained 7 nephews and nieces. Right away they completely stole my heart. We now have 9, 3 girls and 6 boys. I’m hoping for at least one more to make it an even 10. *Hint Hint* 😉 When we first got married we lived near Joe’s family in TN. We were near all of the kids and able to be around for birthdays and sports events. Now we live 4 hours away and miss a lot. We miss them terribly. Nothing will melt your heart like walking into a room and have little people throw themselves at you.

There was a time right after all the failed infertility treatments and then hysterectomy that being around all the babies made the ache inside worse. It made me cry because I couldn’t have that. Because me and Joe were the only ones left without a baby. Slowly it became bitter sweet, with every hug, kiss and “I love you” they lessened the ache. Now more than ever the love I have for these kids is enough to take my breathe away. The desire to be a mom isn’t lessened but the ache I had for a while is lessened by being the next best thing, being an aunt. Never could I have imagined loving being an aunt this much.

Because each of these kids are so special I want to share a little bit about each one with you.

Brandon-(Blue shirt on the left) Brandon is the oldest. Honestly he’s so close to my age that I feel like he’s more of a younger brother most of the time instead of a nephew. There is no one I enjoy watching sports with more than him. I enjoy watching him more than whatever is playing because you’ll never meet anyone more animated or completely invested in the game.  Brandon is one of the kindest people you’ll meet. He has a huge heart! You only have to be around him for a few minutes to know that regardless of what life has thrown at him, he has risen above it and became a great man.


Bethany- Bethany is the oldest of our girls. It amazes me that the young girl I first met when I started dating Joe is about to graduate! Bethany has such a tender heart. She loves people freely and openly. She truly wears her heart on her sleeve but in the best way possible. She never fails to make me laugh and her deep caring of people always leaves me in awe. I’m not sure that she knows how special she is or how much potential she has yet, but I am proud of the woman she is becoming and can’t wait to see where the next part of her journey will take her.

Benjamin-( Blue shirt on the right.) Little BenBen is not so little anymore. He is now taller than me and is in high school. When you are having a bad day no one can hug you like Ben. I love watching him play with all the younger kids. He is one of the few that has enough energy to keep up with them all but he truly enjoys it. He isn’t afraid to act silly or take a tumble for a laugh. Everyone that knows him loves him. I’ve watched him focus playing basketball and show a determination and drive that I hope he holds on to. Above all I pray the world never robs him of the joy and love for people he openly displays.

Kasen- (The little one) I know for small kids having someone new around is hard but when me and Joe were dating, Kasen gave me my “aunt” title. Auntie RayRay was established by him months before Joe ever proposed. His energy knows no limits, and his adventurous spirit is always fun.  It has been the sweetest thing to watch him take on the role of big brother this year. He’s protective and loving. . He stands up a little taller and holds his head up a little higher at being called “big brother.” I can’t wait for the adventures ahead with this one!

Declan- This is the newest member of the family! This is the most cuddly baby I have ever been around. When you hold him he snuggles into you and you feel like time just stops. I could sit there and hold him for hours. Actually…I have! 🙂  He’s beautiful and perfect. 17499586_690407257740_7591670085479583604_n (2)


Kahlan- (on the left) Kahlan is the big sister. As she has gotten older she embodies that title more and more. You can watch all the kids play and see her watching out for them and being the big sister to them all.  She always wants to help do something to make you proud of her. She is driven in a way that makes her seem older than her age. The way she thinks about things leaves me speechless. I have no doubts that whatever she decides she wants out of life she can get.  This girl is going to make an impact.


Keirah- (On the right) I call her my little shadow. When I come into town if you want to find Keirah usually you just have to look beside me. There is a quote I think that perfectly describes her. “Though she may be but little she is fierce.” -Shakspeare.  She is all things girly. Her laugh and smile are contagious. She walks on her tiptoes constantly and is one of the toughest little girls I’ve ever seen. She isn’t afraid to play rough with the boys and is content to sit in my lap for hours. She tiptoed in and quietly stole my heart.

Gavin- (In the back) If you say the name “Gavin” around anyone who knows him they smile. This little boy will keep you laughing and completely astonish you with the things he says. He became a big brother last year and it was so sweet to see. There is a picture I love of him sitting next to his little brother showing him everything there is about Lego’s. I love it because it shows the kind of little boy he is. He’s sweet, and truly cares about people. I can’t wait to see what else he is going to be teaching Myles!


Myles- (the baby)  Myles is one of the happiest babies I’ve ever seen. He laughs and smiles at everyone. He’s beautiful and sweet. He hardly ever stops moving and I have a feeling once he hits the floor running he will be unstoppable!

So this is our crew. These are the kids that I didn’t know I needed before I had them and now that I do, I can’t imagine life without them. All of them are beautiful and perfect. I wouldn’t change one thing about any of them. There aren’t words to describe how much I love them and how much they have blessed my life.

To my sister-in-laws,

Thank you. Thank you for sharing your beautiful perfect children with me. Thank you for welcoming me into the family 5 years ago. Thank you for being there through the hardest times. I can’t tell you how much I love your children. There are truly no words to describe it. Just know that I will forever be thankful to you and to God for blessing me with them. At the lowest point I didn’t know if that hole in my heart would ever heal. But those beautiful perfect children have shown me what the next best thing is. If they are all the children I ever have in my life, they are enough.

I love you all!




One thought on “The Next Best Thing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s