Being Family (31 Days #12)

To read all the posts in the 31 Days series, click here.

He’s started to gray, a tiny bit, around the temples and definitely in the scruff on his chin. He wears (cool, hipster) glasses to read, and was very, very concerned about getting the temporary parking pass replaced so he didn’t get ticketed. He left 45 minutes before the event started since he’d rather be early than late and really likes to play by All of the Rules. (Now.)

37 years later, and I’m still stunned that my little brother continues to grow up.

Do we all do this — us with younger siblings? Do they always stay 13 years old in our mind, slightly awkward and freckly too cool for school?

We live on opposite coasts with thousands of miles of land and life separating us. We don’t physically see each other often, but when we do we pick up where we left off and make fun of each other’s quirks and perform the same dance moves that always reduce us to crying laughter. We share about life struggles and core beliefs and values, and even though we agree to disagree on some (well, most) things, we always leave with tremendous respect and unending love for each other.

It’s been such an unexpected surprise to watch the parallels between all of us in this Big Sister/Little Brother weekend at the beach. I’ve watched the relationship between Jaana and Paxton and realized it’s almost identical to the relationship between my brother and me — the laughter, the tensions, the play, the annoyances, the love. I’ve watched how connected that relationship is with my kids, and they’ve watched how connected my brother and I still are, regardless of years and miles and differences.

It’s a pretty amazing gift, I’m realizing. For all of us.

You know, we’re given these people and these relationships on earth, and we accept them solely because they’re wrapped up in a single word — family. And because of that, we choose to agree to disagree; we choose to love, regardless; we choose to respect each other despite beliefs, quirks, annoyances. We choose to laugh, love and play. We choose to love in spite of and because of all these things — simply because we’re being who we are with the ones who are being who they are. No pretense, no facade, no images to project. Just freedom to be who you arein the freedom of who they are.

And sometimes that being in freedom together makes you realize that the thousands of miles of land and life can grow a person up. It can make them gray around the temples ever so slightly. It can adjust eyesight. It can bring out the inner PePaw in a man.

But mostly, it just makes you love them that much more.

Especially when they do a cartwheel in the middle of the ice cream shop just to make your kids laugh.

Five Minute Friday #36 – BELOVED

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy. 

Today’s topic: BELOVED



He is snuggled up on the couch with him and there they are, my favorite boys, contentedly watching Imagination Movers while the little one’s nose is stuffy and he can’t suck on his fingers properly when his nose isn’t working quite right.

She is curled up on the love seat next to me and her head is nested into my shoulder and I don’t dare breathe because physical touch is the least of all her love languages. And before bed last night she was in tears over an upset tummy but today she’s feeling better and her gratitude over not throwing up is demonstrated by her pseudo-snuggle with me.

So I sit very still, desperately wanting to get up and get my coffee yet daring not to breathe, basking in the love in the living room before the mood is broken and the whining and the squabbles begin.

Maybe if I call it the Loving Room those moments would last longer.

The minutes bleed into hours and the hours bleed into days but it’s these moments here with he and him and she and me that make time stand still. I don’t want to come down off this mountain. It’s where I see Jesus, transfigured and shining brightly and I want to pitch my tent and make coffee over a hot fire.

These moments are God’s treats to keep me from throwing in the towel when discouragement shows up like a bully on the playground. When life gets hard and I want to quit, He reminds me of these green pastures in my Loving Room and His Loving Room, and I gain the courage to stand up and start again.

I breathe deeply and suddenly the moment is lost and life takes over once again. And the minutes bleed into hours and days…but I am sustained for the journey.