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Friday, April 25, 2014

Keeping it all in perspective

It has been 18 years since my biological dad burned my house down and went to prison. And do you know what I often think about when I reflect on that event? I think about how grateful I am to be close to my siblings.

It would be so easy for us to blame each other for bad things that happened, and to turn away from one another and hold grudges. Not that we ever actually did anything to one another, but when trying to find answers to those nagging "WHYs?!" of childhood, siblings can conveniently take the blame.

Of course, all of my siblings are extremely decent people, which makes it extra-easy to love them. I'm very lucky in that respect.

As I laid with Aspen one night this week at bedtime, I told her stories about me and my little brother, Jeshua, playing together. It was often just the two of us in the afternoons, walking home from school together and keeping ourselves entertained until the evenings. Sophia was so young she was in daycare all day, and Seth so much older that he was in school and working. Aspen thinks it's so crazy that Jesh and I just played together all the time without a grown-up. She lives in a completely different world than I did!

But I love telling her about the things I did with my brothers (and sister, too, of course, it's just that brothers are more applicable to her situation right now). I told her how we used to have an apricot tree, and when sentenced to picking up fallen fruit, Seth and Jesh used to chuck it at me and slime me with rotten apricots. She thought that was hilarious and scolded her Uncle Seth the next time he came over. I love telling her that Jeshua and I used to practically fight to the death when he'd cheat at card games, and one time I broke a ceramic item my grandma had made when I threw a remote control at his head. Other times when I was mad at him for pulling the clothes and heads off all my Barbies, I would throw his Ninja Turtles at rocks in the yard so they'd break (why are all the funny stories I remember ones about us fighting?). Ok, here's a warm fuzzy memory: Jeshua lost a tooth at an age when he was starting to question the existence of the Tooth Fairy. So we had a sleepover in my room that night and he didn't want me to tell our parents anything about the tooth, in order to test his theory. While he slept, I cut out a tiny square of paper and wrote a tiny note to him, pretending to be the Tooth Fairy so he'd still believe a little longer. How's that for a precious moment?

And my hope is that Aspen and her brother will create their own hilarious and heart-warming memories like these and laugh about them in their adulthood as they sit around a dinner table together. I hope that by seeing my relationships with my siblings, she'll learn to appreciate the bond that can be had, and she'll do what she can to nurture her own relationship with her brother. I know it won't be easy, but I like to think my siblings and I serve as proof you can overcome a lot of obstacles and still come out of them on the same team.

Whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed by how sick this pregnancy makes me, and how difficult it has been overall, I try to remember what the end goal is- that Aspen will have a sibling when it's all over. She will have a brother for the rest of her life.

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