Becoming a True OMGmother in the Face of Tragedy

I officially became an OMGmother in fall 2001. Actually I guess I was chosen to be the OMGmother prior to that, but that’s when the reality hit.

My little brother Ryan asked me to be a godmother to my nephew, Kyle, sometime before he was born, July 30, 2001.  Ryan and I were always really close, being just 21 months apart. When I was asked, I didn’t know how I would REALLY became an OMGmother later that year.

The morning Kyle was born, I had the privilege of meeting my little man who was going to change my life permanently.  Needless to say I was excited to be an aunt, and being asked to take the role of godmother was a true honor.  I will admit I did throw hints to my brother about the idea because I wanted the job; I wanted to help shape Kyle spiritually.

Actually, let me get technical for a moment, my older sister and I are both listed as godmothers. However, my sister has always lived out-of-state, so I have been the policing force with everything godmother related.  We have always been a tight-knit Catholic family and this new title of godmother held a special place in my heart. I felt it was what God wanted me to do.  In a way, I think my brother felt the same way; I really wasn’t the motherly type, never having changed a diaper before Kyle.

I understood my role as a godmother from the word ‘go’ and I was ready to fulfill my duties as best I possibly could–that is until tragedy hit our family.

My brother Ryan died suddenly in a car accident on October 23, 2001.  Kyle was a week shy of three months old.

Kyle and his Father, Ryan

Was I sad?  Absolutely!

Is that the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through?  Without question. I still feel the sadness everyday.

But I made a promise to my brother that I was going to look after his son and help raise him the way Ryan wanted.  Ever since, Kyle has been my number one priority.  Like I said, I really became an OMGmother.

Without a manual or prior experience with raising a kid, I grew as a person as Kyle grew, learning from each other every step of the way.  For the past 11 years, Kyle has stayed with our family every Thursday or Friday through Sunday, and I pick him up one day a week for either piano or swimming lessons.

My life has changed dramatically over these years.

Plans always revolve around Kyle’s schedule.  My social time involves other parents; weekend activities means taking Kyle to birthday parties, CCD [religion] class and church; my evenings include math homework, swimming lessons, and piano lessons.  My Fridays no longer included plans with friends, but making sure I get to the bus stop on time or making arrangements for my mom to do so.

The birthday I look forward to every year belongs to Kyle.  We celebrate his birthday with the family, but besides that I always surprise him at daycare with treats for his friends.  He loves the extra attention and I just love seeing him so happy and knowing that he is aware of how much we think of him and love him.

When I decide to take on responsibility, I do it to the best of my ability.  Treating my new role very seriously, I volunteer to help out at his school as the only non-parent PTA member.  Kyle is always my number one priority, even moving around my work schedule and meetings to accommodate school plays and activities.  I try to attend every Halloween parade, school party, and Santa’s Workshop.

When Kyle was in the second grade, he gave me the second greatest honor (next to becoming OMGmother) of asking me to be his Confirmation sponsor.  Another title I hold near and dear to my heart.

Every decision I’ve ever made involving Kyle I did with his best interest in mind.  I always asked the question ‘Does it benefit or hinder him mentally, physically or spiritually?’  That was and still is the reasoning behind my decision making process.

Do I ever look back and regret my decision to be such an active part in his life?  NEVER!

I have no regrets at all and I cherish every minute we share together.

My OMGmother experience has not been perfect, but I would never have changed it for the world.  I’ve watched Kyle roll over, take his first steps and try to say my name, all experiences that most aunts, uncles and godparents never get to witness.  My life has taken a backseat to Kyle’s, but I am truly blessed and rewarded to be a part of his life.

I am very proud of the little man Kyle has turned out to be, as I know his dad is too.

Read more from fantastic OMGmother Heather at her blog Aunt Heather and follow her on Twitter at @AuntHeatherP.


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