31 People(s): Aunt Sandy

If you know me, you’ve probably met Aunt Sandy and/or heard about her A LOT! She’s literally been there since the day I was born, before in fact. She’s my mom’s younger sister and we’ve pretty much been two peas in a pod since the day I was born. She got married 3 months after I was born, and therefore I get cheating bonus points for always remembering how many years she’s been married each anniversary (aka how ever old I am). She didn’t have Marissa (you’ll get to hear about her tomorrow!) until 4 years into marriage. Since Uncle Jeff worked often, we were pals when I was a toddler! I’ve been spending the night at her house literally for 32 years. And now she spends the night at mine sometimes. Her and Marissa are coming to visit next weekend and I’m ECSTATIC!

Her and Uncle Jeff have always called me their fourth child, and she definitely has always been a mother figure in my life. Aunt Sandy and I were cut from the exact same cloth. My OCD organizing cleanliness is straight from her. The one exception to my OCD cleanliness being piles of clean clothes not put away? Also from her. Marissa and I joke that our hatred for laundry is her fault. When were kids she tried to make us folding clothes for her sound like a fun game. We’d sit on the living room floor and watch Days of Our Lives or the Disney Channel and fold clothes. I think it’s about time for us to have our own kids to pass this game down to them! Guess who is also obsessed with pumpkins, decorating for fall and Christmas, and sitting on her front porch? Yep, Aunt Sandy. She recently sent me a picture of a Pumpkin Spice Life mug she got from Wal-mart telling me I should get it too and of course, I already had it. We’re both crafty AND I get my cooking skills from her. Seriously, two peas in a pod for 32 years and counting.

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Aunt Sandy is also beautiful! Frequently when her, Riss, and I are together they think she’s our age and not our elder. She taught us from a young age to NEVER SLEEP IN MAKEUP! I think this, and good genes, are one of the many reasons we all look younger than we are (I still get mistaken for a college student at least once a week and I’m 32). Not only does she look younger than she is, she’s also always been young at heart. She loved all the Disney Channel movies and shows right along with me and Marissa, and not just because we liked them, she liked them too! We’ll blame me liking movies and shows meant for preteens on her as well.

She’s fun. She loves cats and if you love cats you should follow her Instagram. She’s super smart and the hardest person ever to beat at Scrabble. She’s supportive of everything her kids do and loves them (and me) fiercely! She never stops having a fun and lively life or learning new things. She’s a supportive and loving wife. She’s a great gardener. She’s a beautiful singer.  I’ve never introduced her to a person who didn’t love her instantly. All of my friends call her Aunt Sandy too. She’s just great!

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But real talk time, there hasn’t been a time since at least middle school when I’ve been asked one of those ice breaker or interview questions about who my role model/hero is that her name hasn’t been on the list. I grew up in what I like to call crazyland, surrounded by chaos and at times a lot of terrible things. Aunt Sandy was always the person in my life who was the opposite of chaos and often the escape from chaos. When everything at home was dark, she was light. She’s the reason I wanted to go to church. My parents didn’t go to church when I was a kid, but she did. I was in church every Sunday because of her, and I needed that positivity and goodness in my life.

I was an EXTREMELY shy kid and teenager, but never with her family. She knew me. I was so shy that I resisted God’s gentle call to enter into a relationship with Him for probably at least TWO years. The night I finally couldn’t ignore it anymore, Aunt Sandy knew. I was a trembling 13 year old, scared to be in front of anyone or even talk to anyone about what was going on in my heart, but she saw me internally and externally wrestling with the fear to make a public decision. She reached over and held my hand and told me she’d go with me. She has always been and will always be a spiritual hero in my life.

When things got even rockier at home, she let me live at her house every weekend and for every holiday break during my first two years of college (I went to a community college and we couldn’t stay on the weekends). Everything hasn’t always been perfect, but in the times it hasn’t or wasn’t, there’s always been reconciliation. I think we’re closer now than we’ve ever been because we survived a really hard season. She’s taught me so many things I’ve mentioned and things I haven’t. She’s modeled what it looks like to have healthy boundaries in friendships. She’s shown me what it looks like to  parent children with so much grace. She was the one person who came to my dad’s memorial service for me and stood beside me and once again held my hand as I wrestled with something life changing. She believes in me and is one of my biggest supporters. It’s rare that a day goes by where we don’t text each other at least once. She loves Jesus in a real, growing way, more now than I’ve ever seen her love Him (which is saying a lot). I love her and wouldn’t be who I am without her.

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This is part of my 31 People(s) I Love series. I’ll be writing about 31 people/peoples that I adore! Click here if you would like a list of all the posts in this series.

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