I look at this blog as a form of ministry. As a chance to share my story with the world and hopefully help people going through their own struggles and appreciating our victories together. As such, I have tried very hard to talk about my life and let other people tell their own stories however they see fit. I very rarely speak of friends or family except in the most flattering way and even then it is unusual.
Today I want to depart slightly from that philosophy as my sister Anna is moving out of Utah tomorrow and then will end up in Japan for 1-2 years as a teacher. She’s been here studying for 5 years and I will really miss her.
So let me tell you a little bit about my family. My parents are still together after 36 years of marriage. They are kind of a ying-yang, balancing each other well. My Dad is energetic, passionate and full of ideas. My Mom is calming, nurturing and peaceful.
They were young and excited to start a family and my brother and I were born quickly. He is 35 and I’m 33. Then my sister Megan came 3 years later but she was a month early and my Mom had complications.
But the dream of a big family never went away and 8 years later they announced my sister Anna was coming. This was a challenge because my Mom had full bedrest and my Dad was working a lot in Japan at the time. We all worked together and a baby came.
My parents wanted to have more kids but then it took 5 years for another baby to come. I was 15 when this happened and Sammy was born the beginning of my sophomore year in high school. Once again my Mom had to go on bedrest and I internalized a lot of fear and worry about her situation. Whether it was bedrest, recovery or caring for an infant, a new baby kind of monopolized my homelife in high school.
Then we moved to California and the winter before I went away to college my Mom announced she was pregnant again. At the time I was young, selfish and very upset. I was acutely aware of how hard this was going to be and I worried it would pull me away from my dream of BYU. In a way I was right because I felt really guilty at abandoning my Mother at such a hard time.
In August we came home and my Mom had the baby and I went back to school. My sister Madeline and I have never lived together as siblings. The longest time was probably after I returned from my mission in 2005 and lived with my folks for about 3 weeks.
So that is the dynamic of my family. It was unique to have 3 teenagers and 3 babies. It taught me a lot. It forced me to be selfless when I really didn’t want to be and it hopefully gave me some real-life experience if I ever have to be a parent (or co-parent).
I love all of my siblings and as the younger one’s get older I am less the step-Mom and more the sister which is nice. Madeline and I have turned out to have the most in common as far as religion, energy and personalities. Sammy has proven to be a great listener and have a calming spirit about him. He is a great person to talk to when you have a problem because he is very empathetic and encouraging. As a little boy he would get so emotionally involved in your worries it was very touching and he still has that.
Anna and I have a lot of similar tastes in music, theater, movies etc, which has been fun. I’ve enjoyed having her close by and will miss my event buddy. Anna has a bright, cheerful countenance and I will miss that too. Sigh…
My sister Megan and I were the best of friends growing up. She is a great mother and very nurturing and kind. She also has been a great influence in reading and writing. Growing up I was not a great reader and she always had her nose in a book. She is currently trying to achieve her dream of writing a novel and has made strides with an agent.
My brother Ben and I are the most different. I guess it is a classic oldest and next kid dynamic. I thought left, he thought right. That has been an interesting tool to have in my life. To see that someone so fundamentally different can still make good choices and lead a good life has been helpful.
Life in any family can be both a joy and challenge. I know I still feel radically different than my siblings but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It forced me to be happy with my own life choices and to not lean on anyone else. We could support each other, and love one another but that didn’t mean we needed to be the same.
One time when I was in high school I yelled out to my family ‘I’m the normal one. You are the weird one’s and yet in my family I’m the weird one’. That was a ridiculous thing to say but it was kind of true. Megan, Ben and my Mom were more homebodies and happy with a few good friends. I was an active social butterfly.
Neither way is right or wrong but I think I learned to lean a lot on my friends who seemed to process things the way I did. Because of this, I have always been a very friend-reliant person to this day. I guess that’s why loyalty and friendship is the most important topic to me.
So that’s my family. They’ve all taught me something different and I’m glad they are all a part of my life. What about all of you? What have you learned from your siblings? What is the age dynamic in your family and how has that affected you?