savoring the year: brother prayers {27/365 }

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If you have a sibling, take a few minutes to thank God for that relationship, for that life, and for the memories you share. 

I am the fourth born to my mom out of seven. The middle child. My brother, Rich, was the first, followed by Debbie almost two years later and then Mandi graced the world two years after her. There is a four year gap between Mandi and I and then nineteen months later, Carrie arrived. Nearly four years later Nick was born and finishing our family, Naloni was born four years later. Seventeen years span from the oldest to the youngest. And yes, we were raised Mormon in case you were wondering. It was a common question growing up, though I hardly understood the ties at the time.  

Growing up, friends asked if I was adopted due to the lack of resemblance among my siblings. My dad's complexion is dark, mirroring his Hawaiian and Filipino heritage, while my mom is all things white and boasts blonde hair and blue eyes and fair skin. Her features are the ones that I reflect, with skin that likes to redden, instead of tan, unlike my siblings who glow in the sun.

We do share a common nose, the one of my dad and my mom's smile. And there are pieces here and there that if you look closely, you can see, though most think we are merely friends rather than siblings.

But we do share the same parents, despite the questions of onlookers who had to clarify with my mom if our dads were the same. Once, mom did respond sarcastically to a lady in the store after answering the question numerous times, naming different dads for each of us. She was the bakers and she was the butchers. He was the milk mans. And we are not sure about her. The lady walked away speechless with eye brows raised.

I have never been able to imagine what it would be like to live without siblings; I am ever grateful for mine. We always had someone to watch and listen to and play with and learn from. Not always the best things to learn but we learned them all the same.

Rich taught us at an early age about entrepreneurship with his rental property. He marketed his spacey, luxurious room for a nominal fee to my older sisters for occasional use. He worked hard and had fun, sometimes a little too much and showed us what not to mimic, like his high school prank of putting memorial benches on top of the building.

Debbie taught us gymnastics and how to walk on our hands around the house and just how cool Rocky Balboa was. She showed us the best places to hide at the top of the closet, though mom warned me not to imitate that either. She taught us beauty tips like face masks and things to make your hair shine and boys.

Mandi showed us the value of practice, even if it meant practicing her flute in the garage. She never gave up and tried her best. She taught us to keep going even when it was hard. And about instant messaging and computer stuff. She always seemed to know.

Carrie showed us how to voluntarily pass out at school and horribly forge our parents' signature and try to convince the teacher it was legit. Carrie showed us how to trust people, especially Disney princesses, as she made her way around Disneyland with princess Jasmine.  

Nick was the baby but not quite. He was always a sport, even letting us dress him up in our doll clothes before he could talk. He was concerned about staying out of trouble and let us know that if we were bad then we would have to put an Always pad over our mouth, even demonstrating it for us. We were thankful for the suggestion but never instilled this practice in to action.

Naloni was the baby and was just that. He was loved on bit extra by everyone and coddled a little more. We laughed at the way he said "mac - woni" for macaroni and carried him everywhere. He was constantly being held and mistaken for Debbie's son.

A short snit bit cannot do justice the thankfulness and love for all the years we shared the same address and presents under the tree and birthday parties and late night swims under the stars and movie nights and the lessons along the way. For memories that have been and for those to come, I am ever grateful. 

Here's to siblings. 


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This is part of a 365 day blogging series through Savor by Shauna Niequist. If you would like to blog along, whether daily or weekly, I would love to have you for the journey; be sure to link back to the post. And if you are not a blogger, you can join along, too. Just leave your response and answers in the comments.
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