I wasn’t born with siblings. But because life is brutiful (like Glennon says) God gave me a brother and two sisters.
Through the ugly craziness of addiction I gained the sweetness of J., T. and D. My first cousins became my siblings. My mother and their mother were sisters. My aunt along with my grandparents helped raise me. She took me in and raised me like I was hers. I am blessed.
I love my J., T. and D. During the darkest, hardest, brightest and best days of my life, they are always there. ALWAYS. Even when we are mad at each other. We are always there for each other. We tell each other exactly what we think. For real. We do dumb and crazy things sometimes. Or often. Like really crazy. One time we had a little impromptu wrestling match in the middle of the night. It was super crazy. One of us had lost our mind and the rest of us showed up to help them find it. Because that’s what we do. We show up. When one of us is going through something – we are always there for each other. Sometimes in person, sometimes on the phone, sometimes it’s in prayer but we are always there. Sometimes when things get really crazy some of us hide out until some of the crazy is gone. We fuss at each other. We tell each other when our crazy is showing or when we are acting ugly. We get each other’s dumb jokes and laugh at crazy stuff together. We fight. We talk to each other. Real talk. We laugh at each other. We get mad at each other. We cry with each other. We do really dumb stuff and then we laugh. We get real. I mean really real. I love them.
The truth is…I wouldn’t make it in this old world without them. We all know no matter what – we always have each other’s back.
D. has a heart of gold. She is the momma hen. You mess with any of us – she’ll get you. She doesn’t care if she’s just cussed us out herself. If you do something to one of us or our families…she will let you have it. She doesn’t care if we are wrong. We are hers and she’s not going to let anyone mess with us. But she’s quick to apologize too. We love her. Once, when we were young…after she had had enough of someone who wasn’t acting very nice toward us…D. chased the girl outside. When the girl got in her truck and locked the doors…D. jumped in the back of the truck, busted open the window with her fist and grabbed that girl by the hair. I sat there with my jaw down to my knees. D. hates it when I tell that story but I was so proud of her. That girl was mean and hateful and she was hurting someone we loved. I’m still proud of her. Secretly – sometimes I wish I’d handle mean people a little more like D. did.
J. is spontaneous, easy going and fun loving. He is protective of us girls. He doesn’t like too many plans. He doesn’t stay anywhere to long. He likes to move quickly. I think us three girls drive him nuts and he tries to keep his sanity – being the only guy…can you imagine? We girls got/get on his nerves. He’s like most guys and doesn’t like to talk a whole bunch and certainly not about feelings and junk. When we were little, us girls were always asking him all kinds of questions that guys hate. Like – did so and so say anything about me? Do you think he likes me? Should I wear this? Should I say this? Guys don’t like those kind of questions. He had to endure it on his own against us three girls. Poor guy. J. was a great wrestler. Once when he was little, we were at a wrestling tournament. There was one kid who was his biggest rival. T. and I found that little boy. We wanted to scare him so we told him our brother was going to pin him in nothing flat. We gave him a good earful. T. and I were so proud of ourselves for scaring that boy. When the time came for the match, T. and I watched in horror as the little boy we had just unknowingly pumped up pinned J. in nothing flat. After the match, being clueless – we told J. about our conversation with the kid. He was so mad at us. I mean really mad. We didn’t do that again.
T. is smart, thoughtful and kind. She is the baby. Although you wouldn’t know it. She’s kind of bossy like she’s the oldest. I mean…she’s a leader. She keeps us in line. We used to accuse her of tattling on us when we were younger. She never really got in trouble…not like the rest of us. I guess she was smart enough to learn from us and our mistakes. In middle school, there was a girl on the bus that was giving T. a hard time. She was being really mean to her. It made me mad. So I decided to write a note and leave it on the bus for that little girl to find. I was going to teach her a lesson. Don’t mess with my sister. I wrote…”Rosanna is a…” and then I just scribbled. A bunch. I was always scared to get into too much trouble. But I wanted to scare that girl. She found the letter. And she took it to her momma. My aunt who worked nights got woke up by a phone call from Rosanna’s very mad mom. My aunt wasn’t happy. She called me in there and asked me if I wrote a cuss word on a piece of paper. I told her no because I didn’t. I explained what I did. My aunt was furious. We loaded up in the car and drove to that little girl’s house. Her mom came out and was as white as a ghost. I don’t think she expected visitors. I was scared and felt bad for all the confusion my note had created. My aunt gave her the what for. That lady was shaking. We got back in the car and drove back home. I never did do that again.
I love them just like they truly are my blood siblings. We make each other crazy, furious, and want to pull our hair out. Like most brothers and sisters – we have pulled hair, punched, cursed, spit, wrestled and said hateful words. But you mess with any of us and we’ll all get you. We tell each other things flat out. We call each other out when we are doing crazy things. We hold each other accountable…trying never to let any one of us become a victim. We get mad at each other but no matter what…we love each other. We can say anything to each other and we do. We are real and we tell each other like it is. But we like that. I know when my crazy comes out – one of them will quickly let me know. When I’m quick to become fixated or upset about something – they’ll listen and talk me down. They help keep me straight. They help me be the best me I can be. No competition. Just love. They love me. And I love them.
I know I’m blessed. But I haven’t always known it and took it for granted for a lot of years.
As I thought about my relationship with them…I realized in their younger years…my mother’s siblings were a great example for us kids. They taught us a lot. They showed us how to be siblings. For most of their lives they had been close. They showed us how to stick together and how to call each other out. They showed us how to show up. There were six of them and they were a tight group. We spent a lot of time together…weekends, family reunions, talking on the phone, holidays and any chance we got we were all together.
When one of them was in trouble – all or some of them showed up to help whether it was going through a divorce, financial trouble, loss of a loved one, their own end of life diagnosis…they always showed up. When my uncle was on his death bed, my other uncle brought him to his house to be cared for during his last days. His family – his wife, children, grandkids and the rest of us, gathered around him and listened to his brilliantly funny stories. Many were there when he passed over into Heaven.
That’s the kind of relationship I want my boys to have. I want them to be close and always have each other’s back. I want them to be real with each other. I want them to be able to tell each other the hard stuff. I want them to hold each other accountable – to keep each other in check. If one was acting crazy – I want the other to be able to tell him. You need someone who you know will always tell you the truth and not just what you want to hear. I want them to show each other kindness and love and do good for each other.
When they were little we told them not to tell on each other unless it was something really important…like if they were doing something that could hurt them or someone else. We wanted them to have each other’s back and take care of each other. We also said … Madden – if you want your brother to want to be around you and take you places – you have to be a good little brother. Don’t be annoying and don’t tattle on him all the time. Mason – you need to be a good big brother. Include him and take care of him. Look after him. I’ll never forget Mason being around 8 and Madden 4. I looked out the window to see Madden chasing and hitting a kid who was about 13 with a plastic bat for “being mean to my bub.” To this day – it still makes me laugh.
Life is brutiful. Because of the ugliness of addiction, I gained a brother and two sisters and another mother. I am blessed!
Finding the sweet side of crazy!