For as long as I can remember, I have always had a lot of people around me. With two brothers and five sisters, a crowd was unavoidable. Even after the nest began to empty, my mother was very deliberate about gathering the family: Christmas, Easter and a weekly Sunday fried chicken dinner if my memory serves me correctly.
It wasn't until I was about 15 that I realized the toothbrush holder in the bathroom was almost bare: just my brother's and mine remained and I didn't like it. Then when I was 17 my brother moved out and took his toothbrush with him. It was just my parents and me--a strange and lonely feeling.
"I hate being alone," I overhead a mom say just this week, adding that it must be because she was an only child.
While I cannot say that I hate being alone ( I seek out a little solitude every day, in fact), the older I get, the more I realize what a gift my parents gave my siblings and me simply by having so many of us. My parents have been gone for years now, but my brothers and sisters and I still have each other.
And we have always had each other: through my mom's cancer, my dad's Alzheimer's and every happy and sad occasion in between.
"Are you naming this one Hope because you hope it's the last one?" someone joked with me recently. And I laughed. It was funny.
But, no. This one is called Hope because she came along at a trying time in the Sims family. "A bright spot of hope," Captain Fun so articulately said when we found out she was on the way.
(See my blog, "A Good Sign" for that story)
And though I know it's not for everyone, I like to think we are giving our kids the same gift my parents gave me: the gift of knowing that long after Captain Fun and I are gone, they will still have each other.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
PS Here's a pic of my brothers and sisters and me at a family wedding. I love to show them off!