"If I were to die today, who cares? My parents are gone, I have no family, no kids, etc, so what does it matter if something happens to me? I'm enjoying life." I expected her to agree with me and to confirm my carefree response to her question regarding how I live my life so fearlessly. Instead, the look on her face was one of hurt and pity. Hurt, because she loves me and she thought that I knew how she felt for me. Pity, because regardless of how many times she calls me and leaves me sweet messages ending with "I love you honey bunny", invites me out, calls to just check in and remembers me each holiday and birthday, I don't realize what love is. When she tilted her head and smiled at me with compassion, I looked into her eyes and at that moment I felt as if all the love, warmth, patience and understanding she had been gifting me for so many years surfaced as a spirit and penetrated the energy field around my body. "I know we are not blood, but I think of you as my daughter. My daughter loves you and her daughter calls you auntie. We love you and wether you know it or not, we are your family."

That was too much emotion for me so I excused myself from our brunch table and went to the ladies room of the restaurant before my cold heart betrayed me. I stood in the ladies room mirror for a while, very touched by what she said, but hoping that when I returned to the table the topic was changed. I walked slowly back to the table. When I looked at my seat I still saw her spirit of love waiting for me in our booth. I sat down across from her and those! I never noticed how beautiful her eyes were before that day. Those eyes, filled with love, glowed like ember. I felt her love devouring me. I took a sip of my drink and asked her about work.

I had done the calculations in my head several times: dead mom + failed marriage = no family.

Different people have different callings in life. So I figured I was meant to be the woman who lived life with reckless abandon traveling alone to foreign countries and returning with stories of once in a lifetime romances. That is who I was before I was married, that is the person I missed when I was married, and that is who I became once more when my marriage ended. For me, love and family equate to eventual loss. Who wants that?

But realizing that I may hurt others with my reclusiveness, my "bah hum bug" holiday attitude and "don't worry about loving me" persona, is not something I have come to terms with. Funny thing is, just at this moment, I remembered my art teacher in high-school, Ms. Palmer, telling me "you just won't let people be nice to you."

I'm not ready to tackle those deep issues.

I will fearfully admit to loving this family; My mom, my sister, my brother-in-law, my niece. I will fight the urge to not respond to their sweet text messages and voicemails including me in their lives. But I am who I am, so I will also expect and wait for the loss.

But I do love being someone's HONEY BUNNY!


Recipe for My Sisters Casserole