I love my family. Fiercely. They are more important to me than just about everything else. I love my family, and I love…sameness. What can I say? I’m a stubborn New England girl. You take care of you and yours. And change is always bad.
I was the oldest of 3 for almost 20 years. My siblings were my first friends. They are also my best friends…even though we don’t always get along. No one has ever been allowed to pick on them besides me. I will descend upon you, and you will feel the full force of my wrath. I’m not kidding.
At Boston-Logan, seeing me off for junior year. This is the last time I saw my family for nearly 11 months and the last sibling picture where there would be only 3 of us.
Life was fairly orderly from year to year. And we all started to grow up. Which, you know, produced changes, which, of course, was not good. But. I was dealing. Things were pretty fun by the time all three of us were in our teen years. We all quoted the same movies, had the same inside jokes. Mom and Dad are fantastic humans who generally join right in. And we had finally hit a time when family outings were kind of fun, because there was less poking each other for no reason in the car. And there was less whining while we were out. This was the time period of day-long trips to the beach, hiking, that time we all biked the 7-mile loop around Mackinac Island…
Awkward family photos for the win!!!
Unfortunately, adulting happens. I spent Christmas of 2014 in Michigan with my dad’s parents because I needed money for the next semester’s textbooks, and they had offered to pay me to deep-clean their house over Christmas break. So I did the hard thing. The grownup thing. And I spent my first Christmas away from home. And then I elected to spend my first full summer away from home as well, because Greenville is an easier place to find a summer job. *Sigh*
It was mid-June 2015. I was within just a few weeks of vacationing at home–the first time I would see my family in almost 11 months–when the call came. My parents were going to foster a newborn baby girl. And thus, my calm world was interrupted. And I was not ok with it. (Read this for more about my feelings on foster care)
The first picture I ever saw of her.
And then I finally got home. And then I held her.
She was tiny and helpless. And I was helpless as I watched her go through withdrawals. As she tensed up. As she started to tremble–her little arms shaking uncontrollably–and scream. There was nothing to do but hold her a little tighter.
Time passed. She overcame her struggles. And I adjusted to there being 4 of us kiddos.
It’s been almost 21 months since then. She is an incredibly active toddler who is entirely too smart for her own good. And I almost can’t remember what it was like before she was a part of our lives. After nearly 2 years of waiting, she is finally, officially ours.
My little Gracie-girl
I must admit, it feels a little strange to me, having a sibling who is 20 years younger than I. Mostly because I haven’t been there for anything–her first words, first steps… I’m likely to miss most of her birthdays. Us older three kids are spread out over only five years, and we’re all fairly close. It’s odd to me that Gracie won’t remember a time when Nate and I lived at home. That she may or may not remember Alana living there. I wish she could know what it’s like to have your siblings right there with you all the time. I want her to get the same inside jokes and experience the same things we did growing up. So I guess we’ll have to get creative somehow. I can’t wait to see her again this summer. And I wish more than anything that I could have been there today.
Oh, Gracie-girl. I’m so glad God gave you to us! I don’t think I can ever find enough words to tell you how much your biggest sissy loves you.
My name is Layla Zizzy. And there’s no one else I’d rather be.