I love my siblings. All four of them. I actually just have one older sister and one younger brother biologically, but I gained two just as lovely siblings through their marriages. And I couldn’t have asked for a better foursome. I didn’t realize just how much I loved them until I was away. I found myself talking about them all the time – things we had done together, stupid jokes and stories and shared meals. And I noticed no one else I was with talked about their siblings that much. Suddenly I realized that my brothers and sisters are actually my friends. I mean, we are all grown-ups now. We don’t just live in the same house and we have to play with each other when mom says. We are adults; we’ve been here and there and done this and that, but we have stayed close. If anything, I would say we have become closer as we’ve grown older. I guess not everyone can say that.
I feel like maybe I treasure this even more so because I am the only sibling unmarried. When my sister and brother got married, I wondered how that would change things. Naturally, things did change – they have their own families and homes now. But, if anything is a testimony to the strength of our relationship it’s that when my brother’s wife is away or working late, Aaron just might call me, his boring older sister, to hang out. He is ridiculously cooler than me, so a phone call in and of itself is a joy. We probably won’t do much of anything other than eat quesadillas and watch the latest episode of the Office, if I’m lucky I’ll get to hear one of his made-up songs, but we’re being our lame selves together. And that’s all that matters.
One year when I was in college, I was determined to spend my spring break in California visiting a friend. But flight prices were not in my favour and I ended up buying a flight to Canton, Ohio to see my sister and her husband instead. Hmm, Canton or California for spring break??? You tell me which one you’d prefer. I was happy for the opportunity to spend time with my sister, but she knew that Canton was not my first choice getaway. So when I walked into their apartment in dreary Ohio, this is what I saw:
Leah knows just how to make a girl feel special. She is one of the smartest, most committed, most organized people I know – and she has really good hair.
In my brother-in-law, John, I gained someone who knows something about everything. He is my fellow “looker-upper.” He is also one of the most thoughtful and generous guys I know. When I was in need of a new bike, he went on this crazy search all over Chicago for this random guy he heard about who collects old bikes. And he found him. And he found my bike – one of the loveliest things I own. An old 3-speed straight out of England, deep green with a leather saddle and a rack on the back – you know, for my library books. He and my brother fixed it up and it rides like a dream. Took it for a spin today, in fact.
(You're jealous, I know.)
And Jody, my brother’s wife, is one of the most ridiculous and loving people I know. We needed someone just as ridiculous as my brother for him to marry. She shares my love for children and sweet potatoes. She’s the only one who will sing songs from Mary Poppins and Les Mis with me, and she would give me the shirt off her back if I asked for it. For my birthday one year she gave me a lovely copy of the Book of Common Prayer, which has since become one of the greatest resources in my life of prayer and spiritual formation.
They are my go-to people when I’m looking for someone to see a movie with, share a bottle of wine, or try my latest recipe. And if we all happened to be around, we hang out. Just because. Because we can be our truest selves together, we know each other deeply, and we love each other even despite our imperfections.