If you've read my earlier posts, you'd know that I have a very high regard for my brother - he's extremely funny and charming and has shockingly managed to grow into his looks. I remember when he first met my now sister-in-law. It was August 2002 B.D. (Before Death) and they were both starting their Ph.D's. He called home and subjected my mother to stories of this girl from Phoenix who was so incredible and smart and who, to my brother's eternal dismay, had a serious boyfriend back home. (There's a song about this, made up on Christmas Eve, but that's another, separate post:)
My mother never met my SiL - she died 2 months after that first phone call about her, but in that period, she probably heard everything there was to know and more, about the wonder that was Tava.
Things happen in life to steer you in certain directions, and I think the turmoil and tailspin caused by our mother's death pitched us both in directions we didn't plan for or see coming. I left a long-term relationship and my brother went into one.
I first met Jan, my brother's mother-in-law when I'd gone to stay at her home in Phoenix, on a 'get to know and represent the family' mission, after my brother's rather elaborate proposal to Tava. In the first week there, I broke one of her family heirlooms. Horror! And all Jan asked was if there was any blood. When I said no, she replied - once there's no blood, there's no problem.
Jan reminded me of my own mother - motherly, generous, practical but whimsical, always smiling regardless of what she was really feeling and strong in the way that she held family together. I think Tava got that from her. When she died (thankfully after being able to walk Tava down the aisle - Tava's dad had passed away a few years before), it left a void in T's family that she stepped in to fill the best she could.
Tava is always there to fill whatever holes she could for the people she loves.
She's been an official member of my family for eight years now and for about 4 of those eight, she's been trying, together with my brother and at great cost and physical discomfort, to fill a void in their own little unit and have a baby. I won't subject you to the tales of daily hormone pills and injections with shitty side effects, or to the sad news of miscarriages or false pregnancies, but I will tell you about the perseverance and continuing optimism and hope demonstrated by the both of them, even when it seemed like every new round of fertility treatment was going to end the same way. I would have given up a long time ago.
They didn't and they've finally succeeded.
I'm going to be an auntie :)
(My soon to be niece/nephew is going to be pretty blessed having two sets of grandparents watching over her/him from heaven:)