Friday, June 24, 2011

A note about siblings (AKA an essay on love...yeah, it's long)

As you can see from my last post, I have lots of siblings. Seven! Wow! Practically unheard of in this day and age! Andy has five siblings (all sisters) and two step-siblings (also sisters). With so many brothers and sisters running around, we often get asked something like, "Didn't you feel lost in all those kids?" The short answer is, "No." But since when do I give the short answer to anything, haha?

Andy and I both grew up loved and individually recognized in our big families. Not everyone feels that way, of course. But, for us, it was the best way to grow up. Far from feeling lost in the crowd, we really felt as if we had more attention because of our siblings. My brother D taught me to read. My brother G taught me to ride a bike.

There are probably people out there thinking, "Well, shouldn't those be things your parents do? If your parents didn't have so many kids, THEY would have had time to do those things with you." Well...fact is, if my parents hadn't had so many kids, I wouldn't be here. Seventh of eight, remember? However, let me address this statement. I love that I have those memories with two of my brothers. I love it! Pictures of me and my brother M, with D reading to us bring back such warm and tender feelings. And G is still that brother running along behind, ready to catch any of us if we fall. My sister L is my best friend (after Andy), my brother M is one of my heroes, and the list goes on and on.

 I cannot express gratitude for our large families without mentioning Andy's sister S, who saved his life by donating her bone marrow. He was 15. She was 21. And don't get me started on the rest of his sisters! Our first date, we doubled with Andy's sister L. His sister T orchestrated and pushed (sometimes gently, sometimes not) our new relationship along. B (the oldest) took our engagement pictures. B (the youngest) makes Andy feel like a million bucks whenever they spend time together.

Our warm and fuzzy view of big families seems to be one not shared by most people these days, especially in the adoption community. How could we love a third child as much as we love our first and second? You would be surprised how many times we've run across this sentiment in our adoption journey. Oh my! Love is only limited by the people you share it with! I can understand wanting a child to feel special and loved. Guess what? Andy and I both feel special and loved. I don't think that's nearly as unusual as people think it is.

Nate is our super hero in eight-year-old clothing. He is ten feet tall, and just waiting for his body to catch up. He is gentle and thoughtful in ways far beyond what you would expect from and eight year old. Nate thinks deep thoughts, and really studies the world and forms strong opinions about that world. He loves to read. He loves his dogs. He misses his biological brother, but likes getting emails from him. He thinks growing up with white parents is weird sometimes. He hates it when Andy and I kiss in front of him.

Lizzie not only marches to the beat of her own drummer, she dances to her own orchestra. I often think that if life were to suddenly turn into a musical, with everyone singing and dancing down the street, Lizzie would feel right at home.
Lizzie's ideal world
My sweet girl has a wicked sense of humor, and loves to hog the lime light. She adores her brother, and thinks he is the most perfect person on earth, even when he's mad at her. She, too, hates it when Andy and I kiss in front of her, but she likes it when we hold hands. She loves to jump on the trampoline. She likes to sing along to Blue October, Mumford & Sons, and The Firetruck Song. When I look into Lizzie's eyes, I see the depths of eternity stretching out before me.

Wow, we can't WAIT to find out who kid #3 is! What awesome and unique characteristics will he or she bring to our family!? Will he or she hate it when we kiss? Will they be play sports? An instrument? Draw, paint? Maybe they'll be a whiz at technology! What amazing things will they accomplish? What new way of seeing the world will they introduce us to? I'll bet he or she LOVES Nate (everyone does). Guess what? We will know them just as well as we know Lizzie and Nate. Just as our Heavenly Father knows each of us.

If your heart is open, there's no limit to the people you can welcome into it. And each one is unique and loved for the wonderful person they are. And the love you give is given back to you, and you find that we really are all brothers and sisters, on this strange journey of life together...and if only the rest of the world would realize this, how wonderful it would be!

That's the way I see it, anyway. My two cents. For what it's worth. Take it or leave it.

~ Mary


  1. I love this post, and I agree 100% about big families. With so many siblings, I had friends to play with everyday and make wonderful memories. And as an adult I feel so blessed to have so many people who I consider my best friends. There's no relationship quite like a sibling relationship. Thanks for writing this out. :)

  2. My favorite line in that entire post: If your heart is open, there's no limit to the people you can welcome into it. What a great way to describe big families!


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