Grateful sister, part 4

“Do you have a sibling who you just click with? Someone that you have always been comfortable to say anything to and know that deep down, they’ve got your back and will love you no matter what? I’m very blessed because I have 4 of them! It’s because of them that I imagined having 4 kids when I grew up. Then I started having kids and realized how fricken hard it was to be a mom- the sleep deprivation, the lack of personal time and space, and all of the emotions, don’t get me wrong… I ABSOLUTELY love my kids, but two is plenty for me.) Each of my siblings have their faults (who doesn’t- I know I’m not up for the “Perfect Sister Award”- is that a real thing?) but their beautiful qualities outshine them by far. In the next few weeks, I’m going to tell you about how lucky I am to be their sister. “

The previous three weeks, I wrote about my brothers Sam and Christian, then my sister Sheila. This week, I am going to tell you about my sister Stephani. When I was young, I definitely had a lot of love for her, but we weren’t super close and I could tell she had a hard time feeling accepted in our family for some reason. It seemed like she was kind of in and out of the family home when I was little. I feel like a lot of the time she was either with friends or when she didn’t live with us, she was with her mom. She actually now reminds me a lot of my daughter -very smart, strong, determined, outspoken and rebellious and also sensitive and loving and passionate. These are all things that make me so proud to be her mom despite the difficult times. I definitely parent differently than my parents did and I feel bad when I lose it and how hurt she looks, so I can’t imagine how that would have felt for my sister Stephani as a kid, knowing what I do now about different parenting methods and the trauma that it can cause. I know she felt like an outsider in our family, and for that, I am sorry. I was such a shy kid and I wish I would have reached out more to her when I was younger by making her feel more welcome then.

After my parents’ divorce, I didn’t really see her much. Shortly after she graduated high school she moved away and only for a few months one summer she lived in the same city as I did. It was really nice seeing her, but I could tell she still struggled with where she fit in the world. I remember when I lived in Oregon and she decided that she wanted to buy my old Honda Civic for her son we met up for the exchange. When we went to breakfast one morning she was talking about how she was interested in women. She never really seemed happy in the relationships that she’d had with the men she was with whom I met so it seemed realistic that she wasn’t really into guys as much as we all thought. In 2009, my sister went back to school for computer science and math (told you she was smart). It didn’t seem to take much longer before it appeared that she really found herself. Before she seemed very angry or had hurt feelings and now she was glowing from her happiness. I’m not sure if it was the meeting of her now wife, or if it was because she came out and knew her true self and wasn’t afraid to speak it. Almost four years ago, I had the honor of seeing two beautiful brides promise their lives to each other. More recently our bond has increased although we live far from each other. I love talking with my sister about all of our commonalities, which seem to be quite a lot now. She’s one of the few people who really show my kids respect. I’m so glad that my sister is happy and that she is in a place where she is showing love and gratitude for herself. Soon she will be off to new adventures as a Canadian and I hope to visit her in her new home soon. Love you Steph! 

My favorite memories of Stephani

1. Chatting at night before falling asleep at my dad’s farm house when I was little
2. Her taking me to Dracula when I was younger
3. Marrying her wife
4. Watching her interact with my kids
5. Going camping with her and her son when he was probably 3
6. Murdering Barney (our brothers stuffed animal

Grateful Sister, Part 3

“Do you have a sibling who you just click with? Someone that you have always been comfortable to say anything to and know that deep down, they’ve got your back and will love you no matter what? I’m very blessed because I have 4 of them! It’s because of them that I imagined having 4 kids when I grew up. Then I started having kids and realized how fricken hard it was to be a mom- the sleep deprivation, the lack of personal time and space, and all of the emotions, don’t get me wrong… I ABSOLUTELY love my kids, but two is plenty for me.) Each of my siblings have their faults (who doesn’t- I know I’m not up for the “Perfect Sister Award”- is that a real thing?) but their beautiful qualities outshine them by far. In the next few weeks, I’m going to tell you about how lucky I am to be their sister. “


Last week, I wrote about my brother Christian, and the week prior I wrote about my other brother Sam, which you can read here. This week I am writing about my sister Sheila.

For a little over 4 years, I was the baby of the family of three girls before my brother Sam was born. When he arrived he took over my old room which was close to my parents and I was moved up to the attic to live with my sister, Sheila. As early as I can remember, I always had a very strong bond with Sheila. She always said she’s wanted kids and you could tell this was true by the way she interacted with me and now my kids. When I was young, I would sometimes wish that I could have been the same age as her so that we could do more things together but honestly, my age never really felt like it hindered my capability to hang out with her and her friends. I remember when we lived in the attic together, we would hang out with her friends together.

On nights when I got really scared I’d crawl into her bed and we’d tickle each other’s backs and talk. After bath or showers, we’d make believe we were princesses and she’d place our towels on our heads to look like princess hats and we’d go down to our creepy basement where there was a little cupboard and we’d pretend to be trapped inside it by an evil henchman. Other days, we’d play video games and to help her concentrate, I’d play with her hair. In the fall, we made a house out of leaves in our yard and in the winter we made one of snow and ice. My fear of hornets came from a day in the park when my sister wasn’t wearing shoes (I think) and she stepped on one and I remember how awful her pain was and to this day I run away like a scared child when I come across a hornet, which my husband thinks is ridiculous and hilarious.

I couldn’t imagine not being in the same house as my sister Sheila. When I was six, everything changed. My parents got divorced and I no longer lived with my sisters. I saw them occasionally and it tore me up when we had to go to our own house at the end of our visits. Then, when I didn’t think it could get worse, we moved to Fargo (about 5 hours away) so my mom could go back to school. When we moved back home a year later, my sister had moved 8 hours away to live with my dad. I had 6 years of solid time with my sister and then when I was 8 I only saw her on holiday’s and a few random weekends. When she got old enough to drive, she drove her little car down to see us for the weekend once or twice and made a point to call us to keep in touch.

After she graduated high school and moved to Kansas, she made it a point to meet us and we got to stay with her for a few months in the summer. I remember when she was living in Kansas, I’d stay in her queen bed with her and we’d talk about deep stuff like religion, relationships, and life. It’s because of her that I have such an open-mind because the small town I grew up in was a typical small town- kind of set in their beliefs.

We have lived in the same city again for the last 6 or 7 years, yet because of our busy lives we barely see each other. Regardless, I know she always got my back whenever I have something come up with the kids or if I need someone to talk to. I know deep down, she loves me no matter what and I feel the same about her. We have a lot in common when it comes to lifestyle choices and I miss our closeness. I know that once our lives aren’t so hectic we will be able to be us. My sister is so generous, beautiful, smart, loyal, and loving. I always hope that she knows that I love and appreciate her always.

My favorite memories of Sheila:
1. Playing Dr. Mario together, even though she always kicked my ass
2. The time she almost broke our grandparents stool and grandma didn’t notice a thing
3. Driving to the West coast for one of the many amazing road trips we’ve had
4. 4th of July when I was in college
5. Sharing a brownie before the Vagina monologues
6. Her teaching me how to count to 10 in Spanish and German
7. Watching her passionate career evolve and skyrocket

Grateful sister, Part 2

Do you have a sibling who you just click with? Someone that you have always been comfortable to say anything to and know that deep down, they’ve got your back and will love you no matter what? I’m very blessed because I have 4 of them! It’s because of them that I imagined having 4 kids when I grew up. Then I started having kids and realized how fricken hard it was to be a mom- the sleep deprivation, the lack of personal time and space, and all of the emotions, don’t get me wrong… I ABSOLUTELY love my kids, but two is plenty for me.) Each of my siblings have their faults (who doesn’t- I know I’m not up for the “Perfect Sister Award”- is that a real thing?) but their beautiful qualities outshine them by far. In the next few weeks, I’m going to tell you about how lucky I am to be their sister.

Last week, I wrote about my brother Sam, which you can read here. This week I am writing about the cooler of my two brothers (I was asked to add this in. Honestly, I love both of my little brothers and think they’re both pretty awesome), Christian.

When I was 14, I never imagined that I’d be blessed, yet again with another sibling. I was so excited to meet my new family member, which is probably why her pregnancy seemed to drag on! Like I said in last week’s post, I loved having my brother Sam around but I LOVED, and still do, little babies! I love cuddling them, talking to them and watching them explore this new life of theirs. When my mom was pregnant, I went to a birth class with her for support (for some reason her husband couldn’t go) and I would have loved to be in on the birth of my new sibling. My mom wasn’t 100% in the know of the gender because she didn’t care either way, and although I really wanted a sister, I would love my new sibling regardless of their gender.

On April 29, my mom got news that if she didn’t deliver by the next morning, she would need to be induced. Our mission was to encourage this little baby out, rather than having to force it out. We walked all over our yard and I believe my mom and step-dad went on a bumpy car ride since that was what worked with one of her other previous pregnancy’s. It worked! A few hours later, my mom and step-dad dropped us off at his parents’ house and they hauled ass to a town 30 miles away from where we lived. I tossed and turned all night both in anticipation and frustration of not being able to go with and support my mom. After a crappy night of sleep, I finally heard the phone ring at my step-grandparents’ house and was informed shortly after that my little brother was earth-side and doing well and so was my mom. I managed to make it through a regular day of school and finally, at 3pm Sam and I were on our way to meet, Christian.

It was love at first sight! For the next 4 years, we were inseparable (well other than when I visited my dad and during my short lived move-in with my dad). I definitely didn’t want the responsibility of being a mom at this age, but man I would have done anything for that beautiful little baby! I remember shortly after they came home from the hospital he wouldn’t stop crying and I couldn’t sleep so I offered to help rock him because I could hear how frustrated his parents were getting. Unfortunately, I was told to go back to sleep.

After I left for college, my baby brother and mom moved down to the same town I lived for a little less than a year and I loved being able to reconnect with my brother! I watched him play soccer, form new relationships at school, and babysat him when I could. Unfortunately, after they moved back home, we lost our closeness. I feel like the divorce of his parents really took a toll on his emotions and his confidence. I know that happened to me after my parents’ divorce.

More recently, when we hangout I feel like he’s slowly coming out of his protective shell a little bit, but for the most part I feel like he seems lost to me still. Like our conversations are more on the surface and never really anything other than how school is going and if anything is new. I wish we could have the same openness we had when he was so young; who knows, maybe someday he’ll feel comfortable around me again and we’ll be able to be close again. I hope that whatever happened or happens, he knows that I love him unconditionally! That he is so amazing and that he deserves to feel love when he’s living his true self. My hope is that he’s not scared anymore to speak his truth because what he wants and NEEDS matter! I know how shitty it is to be emotionally drained from people who love you the most and when you’re young it doesn’t make sense that it happens, but we are all doing the best we can at every moment that we try.

I watched my baby brother grow from in my mom’s belly to a young man in what feels like such a short period of time. (He turns 21 in a few weeks!- man that makes me seem old). Thank you, Christian for letting me be a part of your life, but more importantly, being a part of mine. I love you so much!


My favorite memories of Christian
1.       Holding him in my lap and watching each other
2.       Hearing him sing the “Scooby Doo” theme song
3.       Watching him run back and forth between the TV and the couch while baseball was on the TV
4.       His hugs
5.       Both of us crying while we talked about making him food
6.       Watching him play COD