"The Family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together." Emma BombeckI've always said that I wanted to have a lot of kids. People always say to me, "Wow, 5 kids," but for me, it's never been anything to be amazed about. Five seems like a natural number and I can't remember or imagine life as an only child. I have been so blessed to have my four crazy siblings. As I think about leaving in such a short amount of time, I am reminded again of how much these people are seared into my heart, and how I can't imagine life without their presence.
Caleb and I have had a love/hate relationship. Out of all my siblings, he's probably the one I've fought with the most, but this has only served to strengthen our understanding of each other. We've come to the point in our relationship where we no longer have pitched battles in the halls, but instead we go to each other for advice, conversation, and the occasional ride somewhere fun. Because of Caleb, my knowledge of boy's fashion is much more extensive than my knowledge of girl's fashion, and trips to the mall feel weird without going to the Hollister and American Eagle guy's departments. He's fiercely protective of his sisters and checks up on me to make sure I'm keeping my act clean. Even though he's not demonstrative with his love, you can see it through little glimpses of his care for us. He thrives in large social groups, and family conversations are so much duller without Caleb's ready wit and extrovertism.
Audrey is my personal fashion police and chief confidante. She's always ready to tell me if an outfit matches and looks good if I'm willing to ask. (Sometimes she even volunteers the information.) I'm sure that, without her, I will look like quite a mess some days. Many of you reading this post have no idea what I'm talking about because most of my outfits are "Audrey-approved" before I leave the house, but I've come up with some things that have sent her into spasms of horror. :-) Audrey and I have gone on many excursions together, and the best part of these trips is always the time we spend talking in the car. When someone is so close to you that you only have to say one word and they immediately know what you mean, that is a gift from God. She can see right through me every time I pretend things are going differently than they are, and she's always willing to offer a listening ear and a helping hand. We also laugh...a lot! I would say that is one hallmark of all my relationships with my siblings. Laughter is the mortar of our friendships.
Lydia was my baby when we were growing up. Although she's only 4 1/2 years younger than me, it seems I was always packing her around and "mommying" her. It's strange for me now to be able to interact with her on the same level, but it's been an incredible blessing as well. She is such a busy bee...last Saturday Mom and Dad went out for breakfast and left us with instructions to get food for ourselves (translation: cereal). But when I got out of bed, Lydia had made Swedish Pancakes, which are like crepes, for all of us. This is no easy undertaking, but she gamely slaved over a hot stove to make us a delicious breakfast without being asked. She bought a trampoline last summer and is constantly begging us to play on it with her, and she loves to take walks with me and Otis or whoever will join us. She is becoming an amazing babysitter because she has just as much fun playing as the kids do, and she knows how to have fun no matter what we're doing.
Jacob...wow...what do I say about him? He has no inhibitions and simply does whatever he feels is right without caring about peer pressure. He is constantly drawing or writing something new from one of his many imaginary kingdoms of Beanie Babies or superheroes or people. If you've never seen one of his creations, you should ask him sometime. They are so intricately detailed, and the creativity is astounding. I'm sure he must be some kind of genius, I just haven't figured out which kind yet. He is more demonstrative with his love than Caleb; I can hardly be sitting down somewhere at home without him coming up and putting his chin on my shoulder, just wanting to be a part of what I'm doing. One of the greatest things about him is that I'll think I finally have him pegged and then he'll do something completely out of character and mystify me further. He has the habit of asking me random thought-provoking questions and not leaving me alone until I answer them. And of course, he's incredibly funny!
I wouldn't trade one of these people for the world...their many peculiarities and strengths are just what have made me who I am today, and I know that they will continue to sharpen me.