In April, our family had a big old beach-vacation. All the siblings with spouses and collection of wondrously adorable offspring were there. Every one of us. With plenty of spray-whip-cream, an inappropriate number of packages of bacon, lots of diapers, and cut-throat card games and pretending to be pirate-ship captains. Nothing better than this crowd to inspire me to get my camera out. Therefore, these photos.
I really love my family. (duh). But seriously. Families are weird--they basically create you, clean up your vomit, laugh at you, tickle you (THE WORST), take you on peanut-butter-and-jelly adventures with swords, kick you in the butt whenever you bend over, throw slugs in your hair, tell you when to knock off the stupidity, mock you when you wore stripey toe socks, and definitely have a large hand in building you for the rest of your life. Usually there's an enormous amount of bickering and laughing and the psychological warfare and manipulation of the horse trading card game (oh, just me? okay), and then everyone starts to do the unthinkable: grows up. Grows up and trickles out of the unfancy but made-magical-by-memories house.
Being the youngest has it's advantages (basically everything--but I maintain I WASN'T SPOILED IN ANY WAY), but one of the disadvantages is thusly: you have to watch everyone abandon you. Only Bethany, my best-friend-in-all-the-world didn't leave me, and you have her to thank for my (semi) sanity. For real, if it hadn't been for her in my entire life, who knows where I'd be.
But fun fact: my siblings are amazing, and I actually ended up getting even closer to them after they got married and left me. Amidst all of the real life tough stuff that makes all the seemingly-world-ending disappointments of being a kid look enormously silly, there were lots of weekends spent at their tiny apartments/in-the-country-with-amazing-stars-houses, death-garlic-breath-producing Mongolian grill dates, getting much-needed flowers or boxes of donuts, watching Mission Impossible and drinking chocolate milk at 5am, basic holding-me-while-I sob, deep beach walks, and Black Friday shopping marathons.
And when Peter came around, everyone pitched in by grilling him, answering all my "what the heck should I do??" kind of questions, third-wheeling beautifully (in the kind of way that makes you love the third wheel which isn't even really a third wheel--more like couldn't-manage-without-you kind of wheel), and eventually, working for hours and hours toward the wedding of our dreams. (And my marvelous sister-in-law Katelyn even made us all our food and sent it with us for our beach honeymoon). And now we get to be couple-friends with them/BFF three-musketeer friends with them (BETHANY ♥ ). They tell us what's what about marriage and give real-estate advice and go camping with us and leave soup and apple juice on our doorstep sometimes they lend us romantic comedies or give us pints of raspberries that revolutionize our entire week.
I'm never really been much of a believer in clannishness, family-above-anything, blood is thicker than (water?), etc, but when I think about it, I'm like "woah, my family is rad!"
I feel like we're all kind of weirdly loyal in an unspoken, brotherhood kind of way to each other, all have some commonalities--stupid self-consciousness, hefty eyebrows, and a deep and irradicatable love for books (additionally: buying them on Amazon). Our parents went on kids-bookstore dates and have about forty book shelves, so we were all doomed. We're not one of those "crazy" families. We're not really dramatic, ethnic, rich, and we don't all sing in a band. (We do a mean sing-out-of-hymnbooks-around-a-dining-room-table situation though). We're not even Italian, sadly. (Mostly Austrian actually. Not as conventionally magical--aka it's where Hitler came from.)
But I dunno man, I just big-time love these people. And I'm more and more desperately grateful for the abundant grace of Jesus in my family and unimaginable sacrifices and the hard work of my parents to teach us Jesus and the Bible and to get along with each other instead of just screaming and slamming doors. Don't get me wrong, we're all still plenty screwed up but: we all have plenty in common still (and not just the oh-yeah-we're-related part), we get along, we help each other out, whenever we can finally once-in-a-blue-moon all spend time together, it's a genuinely, kid-screamingly good time.
I'm really, really thankful for that. I see more and more stuff fall apart, and I realize more and more that it's such an undeserved fluke that I got a family as wonderful as this one.