Monday, August 19, 2013

Big Sister...Beware!

There have been many times in my life where I have questioned God.  I have wondered why in the world He placed me in some circumstances or near certain people.  One thing I have never questioned God about is being a big sister.  He knew exactly what He was doing when He placed me first in the birth order in our family.  I love being a big sister.  I always have.  Even though my siblings are grown-ups now (BOOOOO!), I still love this role, and I am always thankful God blessed me with it.  I am the eldest of 4 kids...and we are stair steps with 2 years in between us.  So, there's me (at 32), Andrea (30), Tyler (28), and Timothy (26).

I can think of so many wonderful memories growing up.  I was never, ever bored.  My brothers and sister and I would play together for hours.  If we played house, Tyler and I were always a family, and Andrea and Timothy were always a family.  I don't know why it worked out like that, it just did.  We'd play our version of Monopoly...when we were little, it was a glorified version of playing bank.  When we became teens, Monopoly became a bloodbath.  As adults, Monopoly has been banned.  I remember playing for hours outside...we loved climbing trees, playing kickball, and we especially loved the Roto-Rider (basically a death-trap of pipe and 4 tire swings that went around in a circle like the swings at a fair).  I loved my childhood.  I loved having playmates.  I loved having people to take care of.

When I received my driver's license, I became the chauffeur for my siblings.  Honestly, I didn't mind at all.  I would taxi them to piano lessons, soccer practice and games, wrestling practice and matches.  I would take them to the movies and shopping (when I worked at Stein-Mart and got a sweet discount).  I drove a white 1987 Subaru GL...thank you very much.  My parents bought it, and I paid them back for it every week until it was paid off.  And not to sound too old, but I remember gas being under a dollar a gallon when I started driving.  CRAZY!  Anyways, I was very proud of my car.  I had a sweet bumper sticker that said "Caution: Sarcastic and Cynical".  And, on the back of the headrests, I had a laminated list of rules for my brothers...no bodily functions allowed, no touching the radio, if you make a mess, clean it up...things like that.  For the most part, my brothers adhered to the rules...I think they liked the perk of frequent movie trips.  One of my favorite things we ever did was to make our parody videos.  I have been a fan of Saturday Night Live for years.  On snow days, the 4 of us would break out the video camera, write scripts, and then make our own skits.  It was so much fun.  My favorites were Rats (broadway parody of Cats), the Freddy Springer show, and the Locked Bowel Research Center...ah, good times!

I have always been so protective of my siblings.  I have always felt responsible for them, in a sense.  When I was in high school and made some pretty stupid decisions, I was more worried about them finding out.  I knew they looked up to me, and I felt I had let them down.  But, the three of them were so understanding and forgiving.  As adults, we have had some difficulties, some hard times, some arguments.  But, we always work it out.  Even if it takes awhile, we find a way to restore our relationships.  I know I am extremely blessed to have 3 amazing siblings.  I would be such a boring person without them.

My sister, Andrea, is completely outstanding.  I have never met a person who believes so strongly and who does not waver on her convictions.  Andrea has always spoken her mind.  If the Bible says it, that's it...no question.  No one intimidates her.  She is self-confident and brave.  I have always admired her tenacity.  She has faced adversity, but she never made excuses.  She fought so hard for her education.  I am so proud of her.  Andrea has an uncanny sense of adventure.  She felt God prompting her to move to the other side of North America, and she went, with limited reservations.  Andrea now lives in Vancouver, Canada.  I hate how far away she lives.  But, I love to hear and see her adventures.  Andrea married an equally awesome man, Matt.  I am so grateful for him.  He holds his own with Andrea, but he also takes such good care of her.  I am so thankful that God brought the two of them together, even if it landed my sister in Canada!  Andrea is a natural mother...her baby boy, Lucas, is beautiful.  To see the two of them interact is nothing short of incredible.  She loves him so much...and it is so evident.  I know that Andrea will always be ok...her faith is her foundation.  I am so very proud to be her sister.

My brother, Tyler, is probably the sibling I am most similar to.  For some reason, growing up, we always sat together and somehow rotated around each other.  Tyler is also the sibling I have fought the most with, but that's because of our similarities.  We are both very passionate and a bit stubborn.  Tyler is extremely talented.  He has a quick wit and a great sense of humor.  And, he is a fascinating storyteller.  If I had to pick one word to describe Tyler, I would say he is loyal.  When he cares about someone, he is all in.  He still has many of the same friends that he has had since elementary school.  It's something to see!  He doesn't give up on people.  Even when he gets hurt, he is easy to forgive.  He loves unconditionally and consistently.  Tyler lived with me a little while when we first moved back to NC.  We had a blast watching our sci-fi movies, playing board games, and singing together.  I miss that.  Tyler married a very sweet girl, Britney.  The two of them have a great rhythm.  Britney brings out the best in Tyler.  She is an encourager to him and is a great wife.  They have a precious baby, Jameson.  Tyler is an awesome dad...I love that he decks his kid out in camo, UNC wear, and Johnny Cash duds.  It's awesome.  Tyler's perseverance in life is extremely impressive.  I count myself lucky to be his big sister.

My youngest brother, Timothy, is pensive, deep, and very intelligent.  He always keeps me on my toes.  I do have to thank him for introducing me to the world of Tolkien as well as The Office and Arrested Development.  Timothy and I share a love for British humor and satire.  We have spent hours watching Friends together.  Timothy lived with us his junior and senior years of high school.  I LOVED having him around.  We would stay up late watching movies.  And, we would talk a lot.  We would drive around town with Cecely in the backseat, and would sing songs from Poison, Bon Jovi, and other super-awesome artists.  Timothy is a fighter.  He doesn't take anything lying down.  If he believes in something, he goes after it full-force, indifferent to other people's opinions.  It is a fascinating quality.  Timothy lives in Georgia, and I keep praying he'll get the opportunity to move back home.  I miss him so much.

All that to say, I love being a big sister.  I do not take the job lightly.  Even now, if you mess with one of my siblings, brace yourself...this sweet, bubbly girl you all think you know turns into a straight-up redneck ready to take on anyone.  Truly, I am extremely grateful for Andrea, Tyler and Timothy.  I cannot imagine my life without them.  I am thankful for a treasure trove of wonderful memories. 

Andrea, Tyler, and Timothy...I love you guys.  I am so proud of the adults you are.  I am so thankful for your unique personalities and strengths.  Thank you for always loving me, for standing up for me, for walking through life with me.  Thank you for being amazing to my kiddos.  I am blessed and honored to be your big sister.


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