Katie Strumpf
"Helping kids with cancer.......a cancer survivor's story"  

A Family Affair

We are probably going to  Lewnes for Ariel's birthday dinner.

My little brother Ben told me this over gchat, and I was jealous.

Not just because I want to eat their filet mignon, but because I want to be there with my family. I want to see and hear my sister burst out laughing, I want to be there when my brother gets embarrassed because my sister and I are too loud. I want to be on the receiving end of one of my dad's signature hugs, which convey that he would do anything in the world to protect me.

I want to walk through the garage door into the house I grew up and hear my mom say "Kate?" and see her standing in the kitchen wearing her bathing suit or Under Armour. I want her to ask me a million questions, just like I ask a million questions.

To say I miss my family is understatement.

Until I moved to Charleston, I always lived within 45 minutes or less from my family. I loved that. I loved coming home to Annapolis on Sundays and my mom sending me back with food, meeting my dad out for dinner, loved my brother eating over for dinner about once a week, loved getting sugar-free iced blended mochas with my sister at UMD.

It is also evident I love food. But that is not the point of this blog entry, it is family.

Although the two are instrisincally woven, in my opinion.

Making the decision to move away from my family was hard. Really hard. But, they knew why I needed to go. I think it was a comfort to them that I was going to a city where I have extended family.

Before now, I never lived around my extended family. I was envious of stories Adam would tell about growing up around his cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Now I live around a ton of family.

It is not the same as my immediate family, but it is a huge comfort. I have so many wonderful family members welcoming me, looking out for me, caring for me.

It makes this transition that much easier, and a lot more fun.

I hear my name being called out from an apartment window at the corner of King and Calhoun Street, and look up to see my younger cousin waving to me.

I run into the same cousin carrying a bag of frozen dinners down the street. Despite my just having come from hot yoga, we hug and catch up for a few minutes.

I live half a block from one of my younger cousins, and a half a block in the other direction from a second (third?) cousin's clothing store.

I have an aunt and uncle who are constantly offering help, meals, their pool, cute clothes, their home for six months.

I have another aunt and uncle who send me emails saying they haven't seen me in so long, and I should come over for dinner soon. It had only been a bit over a week since we had seen each other, but it felt long to me, too.

I have a second cousin who has become one of my closest confidantes, and my get-my-tan on partner in crime.

Everywhere I turn, I have a relative looking out for me, supporting me, encouraging me during this time when sometimes I am unsteady, sometimes I am scared.

Ok, often I am scared.

What I envied about Adam, I now have.

I think he would have liked that.

At the beginning of my book, there is a brief dedication to my Mom, Dad, Ben, and Ariel.

It is often said that a family is reflection of oneself. How lucky am I to be a reflection of each of you.

How lucky am I to be a reflection of my family here in the Lowcountry, too.


Posted by Katie Strumpf at 4:11 PM on July 21, 2011 | Comments (0)


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