Yesterday I posted this photo of my siblings in honor of National Sibling Day. Taken on the front porch of the home I grew up – 4617 Meadowbrook Drive. Fifteen, twelve and eleven years old when I came along, I learned some important things from each of them.

From Sister Bee, I learned how to tie my shoes, count and do my multiplication tables.  She was always my biggest cheerleader, still is, offering encouraging words.  She was the most excited that I was on the way, and I feel like I received a double dose of love from her as a sister and a surrogate mother.

From my older brother, Jimbo, I learned to be comfortable quietly listening to music and reading.  His room was upstairs on the end of the house nestled up in the trees.  He would come and get me out of my bed at night and I would sleep in his bed while he studied.  I think he just liked having me nearby.  When Mother would do the final bed check before going to sleep herself, she’d find me in his bed and return me to my crib for the night.  He read me the story of the Velveteen Rabbit and gave me a bunny after I lost my first tooth telling me how brave I was.  I learned tenderness and gentleness from him. And his laugh was like no one else.

Then, there’s the younger brother.  He’s always been a ball of fire.  He pretended he wasn’t that interested in me and I think sometimes used me as a way to get out of doing chores.  However, he was the only one who took action when I came in from the backyard one night looking like the character “Carrie” with blood dripping down my face from an accident I had on the swing.  As my parents sat there looking at each other bewildered as to why I was covered in blood, brother was yelling, “come on people, get the first aid kit!”  I learned from him loyalty, strength and courage.  He can make me laugh like no one else.  When we are together it’s comfortable like a warm blanket. (note: when I texted him this photo yesterday his reply — “what a stinky poo poo pants little brat, but I love you anyway.”)

The way they interacted with me just unfolded naturally.  I don’t ever remember Mother asking them to spend time with me, they just genuinely wanted to.  I grew up knowing I was loved and for that I am thankful.  As my mother said, “the first few years of your life, your feet never touched the ground.”