Istanbul with my Nephew

May 30, 2019

Images all taken with my T-Mobile iPhone X.

For those of you who don’t know, my sister lives in Istanbul and has lived here for the past 6 years. I have a bit of an unusual family story: my mom is from England and moved to America when she was 20-years-old with absolutely no one (her father was severely abusive and her mom passed away at a very young age) before she met my sister’s dad in New York City. My mom has lived in Africa, Texas, NYC, and Connecticut (a random collage of places) and has worked as a nurse in all of them at psych hospitals, which is what she does right now. My mom eventually moved my sister from NY to Connecticut which is where she met my dad. I was born (I’m considered the miracle baby which I think is more the mistake baby since my mom was 48 when I was born) and the story for my life begins there. I don’t have much family besides my parents who still are together and my sister: she is 16 years older than me so we weren’t exactly close growing up. She moved to NY and attended Pace University before working as a model and eventually working at a fashion startup where she met her (now) husband who is Turkish. The company ended up closing down and she moved to Istanbul, which is my 3rd favorite city in the world.

When she initially told me she was expecting 2 years ago, I was super jealous. I grew up basically an only child because of the age gap between my sister and I, but right when I felt like we were getting close she got pregnant. For 9 months until Leo was born I almost resented her from jealousy (I didn’t want to get replaced!), and then Leo was born and I feel like I grew up all over again. I’m obsessed with this child. I’ve always been someone who wasn’t sure I wanted kids, I’m incredibly career driven and have been since I started this whole journey back in 2011, so kids are the furthest thing from my mind. But then Leo was born and I’ve realized the importance of so many things in life. When you’re around a toddler, you realize that all of the stress you have in your life (dating, friends, career) didn’t exist for the first 15 years of your life. I told Leo if he took a picture with me I’d buy him a present, and for 48 hours after my agreement Leo would not stop talking about this present. So we went to the mall and I asked him what he wanted. We went into a nice fancy toy store in Istanbul and wandered around, and eventually Leo looked up at me and said “balloon. I want a balloon.” I looked down at him and said are you sure you don’t want a (toy) car or an animal?

He said no. He wanted a balloon.

I spent 18 TL (barely $3) on 3 balloons for Leo, and the smile on his face following was enough for me to fall in love all over again.

The moral of this story (besides my obsession with my nephew) is that I can’t believe how caught up I find myself or the people around me getting in the daily stress and anxiety of just existing. It’s absolutely valid stress and anxiety, but don’t you wish for a second we’d all stop wishing for the next best thing and instead realize what you have that’s right in front of you? If my boyfriend offered to buy me a balloon for my birthday, I don’t know my response would be as thrilled as his. There’s a huge difference between a kid and an adult, but that doesn’t mean we have to forget what’s right in front of us. Sometimes what you’re looking for is right in front of you and you aren’t even taking the time to realize it.

Whenever the next time your anxiety kicks in, take a few minutes to sit down and breathe. It’ll all work out in the end. If it’s not working out now, something else will come down the line. It always does.

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