I will soon be 49 years old. I can hardly believe it. I am the youngest of 6 children, the baby. Regardless of my chronological age, I will always see myself as "the baby." There was a fairly large gap between me and the others. My oldest brother was almost 18 years older than me. My sisters, who are closest in age to me are 8 and 10 years older.
Today, as a mom and a wife, when I am around my siblings, I get this little taste of still being "their little sister" and I love it. My brother came into town the other day for a doctor's appointment and he called and invited me to come to lunch with him and his wife. And, the dynamic that was present, was much the same. He paid for my lunch as he always does.....always has. And, he fussed at my salt intake and choosing to eat dessert.
When I was little, two of my three brothers would take me to school while my mother worked. The oldest, would take me to breakfast where I would get a donut and a coke. The youngest brother, would take me and make me eat healthy. Yep, he was the one from lunch last week.
My brothers, doing what brothers do, wrestled with me and always let me win and play dirty. I thought that I was so tough. They whittled a stick (baseball bat sized) to carry in my car when I went to college. I still have it.
My sisters, being closer in age let me get away with a lot less. My oldest sister was the hygiene nazi. I remember being afraid of getting my hair washed because we had well water and a pump. If you know anything about that you know that there will be a tiny stream of water followed by what I felt was a water boarding moment. I remember telling my cousins that were my age to hate her because she was mean.
My other sister was more laid back but she drove like Mario Andretti and it scared the dickens out of me. She had a convertible whose accelerator would stick and so on the way to school I would beg her to please go slow....thinking that this would keep the accelerator from sticking. She would then threaten me by saying that if I didn't shut up, she'd go faster.
Today when I sit from my current vantage point and see the places that my life has taken me and I try to recognize the gifts that God has given me to help me navigate this life, I count my brothers and sisters as a major factor in not only my survival but as the baby, they are some of the major gifts in my life.
You see, I never doubted that I could make it through the hardships because my brothers always told me how tough I was. I never worried about being good enough or smart enough because they made me feel like I was so smart or so talented. I was "the baby." I think I was theirs as much as I was my parents. How blessed am I?
Today I just want to be thankful for my brothers and sisters. I want to take the lessons learned from how they loved me and I want to be the one to give those back. I pray for all of our addicted loved ones and I say a prayer today for Henry.