14 August 2013


I think it's a rare experience to actually like your family and still not see them for years at a time.
Going home for the first time in 3 years has been an odd though wonderful experience. You don't really know what to expect--what will have stayed exactly the same, and what will be completely unrecognizable? 
This is still home to me. Three years has't been enough to change that, not at all. In many ways, life over here still seems much the same as I remember it. But it's surprising to see my sisters in their new, significantly more grown up forms. Now they have their own cellphones, they help organize youth group events, they make dinners and bake desserts. They get babysitting jobs and volunteer in Awana and children's church programs. One of my sisters is seen checking her email, and another one is lying on the couch reading Black Like Me in her spare time.
I remember that at their age I considered myself very nearly grown up. I started college in the U.S. when I was a few months older than Anna is now. But it's strange to me to see them as the soon-to-be grown ups they are.
But I must. It's time to face facts. My 2nd and 3rd siblings, Isaac and Lizzy, have been taller than me for a good five years already. Now my 4th and 5th siblings have passed me up in height, and #6, MaryGrace, isn't far behind. My only hope for not being the shortest in the family is little Sarah. Maybe she won't grow quite so tall as the rest of these teenagers have.
It's a strange thing to come home and find that your baby sisters are very nearly grown up. Anna is 16 now, and she's the first one that I can remember taking care of when she was a baby. Lizzy, Isaac, and I were pretty much all babies and toddlers together, but from Anna onwards, those were my baby sisters.
Lizzy asked me to make sure that we took pictures of each one at their present age--the modern day version of the yearly portraits from Sears or Wal-Mart that Lizzy and I had every year when we were little. (May I say that in this case, I think my younger sisters are getting the better end of the deal). Dad was in charge of the camera, and I was in charge of the style. I told the girls to get dressed in their best, and they all came out wearing bindis and bangles and the prettiest of their Indian tunics.
Sometimes you don't know how your siblings are going to turn out. You remember what they were like when they were babies, and you can tell from pictures that they are just as cute as they always were, but you don't actually know what they're like as people. But after this trip, I know. 

I know that Anna has a witty sense of humor, she laughs at life. She loves babies and takes very good care of any of the ones she happens to get her hands on for the moment. And she outran me by a good thirty feet when we discovered that we didn't have keys to get in our apartment and we needed to stop Dad's car before he drove past the guardhouse.

MaryGrace is kinder and more thoughtful than the other six siblings combined, no exaggeration. She's the baker in the family, and she's hardworking at whatever task she's given. One evening she drank too much caffeinated tea, and stayed up the entire night doing her AWANA homework and making scones and no-bake cookies. I don't know about you, but if I couldn't sleep, I would have watched movies or done something useless like that.

Sarah is far friendlier than she was a few years ago. Several of my friends here have commented, "When she was a baby, she wouldn't even look at me. Now she wants to talk to me all the time!" She's very like me in her love for words. She's growing up in a family of significantly older siblings, and that's probably partially why she tends to act older than her 6 years the majority of the time. When she cut her chin on a tile floor a couple weeks ago and needed to go to the emergency room, she didn't even cry. She reads, and writes--one day a few weeks ago, she declared Sarah Day, and wrote us up a detailed activity schedule, including a picnic, a tea party, a trip to the library, scheduled times for playing board games and card games, and a 10 p.m. bedtime. What choice had we but to obey such a schedule?

Rebekah showed tenacity in her job of organizing our beach excursion last weekend. It was her job to make countless phone calls and convince people to commit either to going or not going, to find out who could drive and who needed rides. It was not a job I would have liked to handle, but she did it!

Linking up with Katie today!!
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Angi said...

Your sisters are gorgeous!! You have such a beautiful family :)

It is crazy how much can change in just a few short years, I'll give you that.

Tayler Morrell said...

Super cute! Glad you are so close to your family!
Our Fairy Tale

Sarah Pete said...

Love love love LOVE this! Really, I do.
It's always so awesome to look back and see how families grow and change. It's awesome that you get to keep in touch across the distances and then SEE each other again and experience your siblings in a new light.
What a beautiful batch of girls, too!

Nicola Kirsty said...

I have to admit I can't imagine living so far from my family - my mum and sister are two of my best friends and not seeing them for so long would be too difficult.

You have a beautiful family though. I love how each of you all have your own distinct personality.

Katie Cook said...

These are stunning! Your sisters are adorable, and I LOVED getting to know them through this!!! Beautiful!!! Thanks for linking up! SO SO FUN!!! Love Katie

Moonofsilver said...

soooo cuteeeeeeee. wow!

Ameera said...

Beautiful pictures! Where is home for you?

Lizzy said...

Really three years? That's crazy~

kristyn said...

They are all so pretty! And wow, three years is a long time. I'm glad nothing had changed for you :) Coming home is such a wonderful feeling!

Anonymous said...

Oh, your family is so beautiful! It's so fun to watch children grow their own quirky personalities. How fortunate you have such awesome sisters!

Angela said...


Susannah said...

Your sisters are beautiful and it seems to me that their beauty is inward as well as outward.

amanda.b. said...

Great post, such sweet photos!

Elena Alice said...

Love how you were creative in the link-up and took it into a different direction by showcasing your adorable sisters! I love the little snapshots of their personalities! So glad I found you through the link-up!

Lauren {at} Life.Love.Lauren said...

You have a beautiful family!!

Being Reese 2 said...

Your sisters sound so sweet. It must be so much fun to have such a big family. Except when you need to get into the bathroom ;)

p.s. Black Like Me is an awesome book.

Unknown said...

Mary Grace looks like a sweetheart. She has kind eyes.

Rachel said...

Yes, she's one of the kindest people I know. And in a family of mostly sarcastic....not really erring on the side of overly nice people....she's unusual.