I have been thinking a lot lately about family and siblings and brothers, as we are only seven short weeks from bringing another family member home. I have been enjoying the laid back pace of summer with my boys, spending hours every day with my tired feet propped up, watching them play in the pool, wrestle, build legos, and just do fun little brother things together.
I have been thinking about how fast their childhoods are going by. My oldest just lost his first tooth. He is starting first grade this fall, which just seems so much more serious than kindergarten. I am seeing him really change and mature and while I am proud and happy, I am also sad. I just want to freeze this time, hold on to them a little longer. I don't know why I seem to enjoy my children so much more during the summer. I just love to watch them at the beach or pool, their sweet little tan bodies running around. Gosh, they are just so cute!! And they get along so much better. I love to see them relating with each other. I love to see them comfort each other and help each other and to feel safe with each other.
I was encouraged as I thought about my own brothers (pictured above, with my Dad). We were also homeschooled and spent a lot of time together building forts, playing in the woods, dressing up, getting in trouble. I realized a few weeks ago that I have not lived in the same house as my siblings in ten years. We all are doing our own thing, living our own lives, having different experiences. It is weird to think about how different our lives are now, these people that I knew better than anyone else for most of my life. One brother is about to be deployed to Iraq (bottom in picture). One just graduated college and is trying to decide what direction to go next (far right). And the other brother is in school and married (top). In spite of the years it has been since we lived in the same home, we are still close. One brother was here at my house tonight, playing with the boys and talking to Matt about life. Within the last hour, I have spoken to my other two brothers on the phone. I am very thankful for those family connections that have changed and matured over the years. I am thankful for all the history that we share, the inside jokes, the memories, the traditions.
And even though sometimes I am sad to see my children growing up so fast, I am encouraged when I think about the relationships that I have with my siblings and the hope that I have that these years my boys have in the same house will also result in strong ties as adults. I hope that they will feel a companionship and safety and confidence in their brothers because of their time together as children.
(I also have a little sister, Darcie, who is ten. I was almost eighteen when she was born. I could say a lot about her and how she uniquely changed and added to our family but this particular stream of consciousness was more about my childhood interactions with my brothers. Not trying to leave Darcie out though!).