Little bit of background info: I am not close to anyone in my family, I moved out when I was 19 to be more independent and have been working/putting myself through school since, finishing one degree and am now working on a nursing degree. My family has this theory that if the children don't "need" them for something, they aren't being shown the proper appreciation for being a parent, grandparent, etc and said "child" is selfish because of this independence. For instance, my sister is 25, lives at home with my parents, does not work and does not go to school. Her FI lives at home with his mom, but has a job while attending school and plans to marry my sister after he graduates. This is fine by my family because she "needs" things from them/her FI. My FI and I have been together 8 years and have lived together for 4 years, are both going through school and both have jobs. This is not fine because I am being selfish in persuing a career of my choosing and working in order to make that happen. I don't "need" anything from them. There is too much more to this story to even go into, it's been a lifetime of belittling and demeaning comments/actions toward me, and then guilt trips because of my choices.
Anyway...the real reason I'm posting. My FI's family has welcomed me with open arms since day 1, and I have grown very close to my FMIL as well as FI's younger brother who(m)? is now 13. He is such a fun kid, loves to come stay with us on school breaks, bakes with me for holidays, and always asks me to practice with him for baseball (I played softball in highschool). Family functions are a blast, all of his aunts and uncles and his grandparents have accepted me as part of the family from the beginning, it's what a real family is supposed to be like. FI and I have been planning various aspects of our upcoming wedding (May 2016) and we kept coming back to the dilemma of there's no one to walk me down the aisle. I considered walking by myself, and a suggestion was made that FI and I could walk together...and then it hit me. FI wanted to include his step-brother and their younger brother (13 y/o, will be 15 then) in his side of the wedding party, but was thinking about symmetry (he's an engineering major) and doesn't like the idea of the two sides being uneven. I asked him what he thought about asking 13 y/o to walk me down the aisle. Not to "give me away" obviously because that doesn't make sense, but just to walk with me since he is such a big part of our lives and we want to include him. FI loves the idea and said that his brother would be so happy, so I pitched the idea to his mom and step-dad who also said he would be honored to walk me down the aisle. I plan on asking him in person this weekend when we see everyone for Mother's Day. I can't wait for his response, and I'm so glad that everyone is on board with the idea!