When "baby" Sarah was 3.
She's 9 now.
What seems to have sparked the concern is the fact that Angel has fit so perfectly into our unique family for so long (my siblings were between the ages of 14 and 1 year old when I first met Angel) that he's long since ceased to be an outsider in any way and has simply become a fact of life--quirks and all. His vocabulary has influenced theirs--if it weren't for Angel, I don't think I would have ever heard my precious baby sisters randomly spouting "Your FACE is___(fill in the blank with whatever adjective was most recently used in conversation)___." as he is wont to do.
"Oh, those flowers Dad brought home from market this morning are beautiful!"
"Your FACE is beautiful."
"This cake is delicious!"
"Your FACE is delicious."
"Woah, that is a really old car!"
"Your FACE is old."
And so on.
He may be a little on the odd side, as far as in-laws go. The minute he walks into my parents' house, he either starts washing dishes (because dishes always need doing), or else makes a smoothie out of ingredients in their fridge and freezer, serves it to everyone, and then washes all the dishes (clean dishes are important). When he's not making smoothies, he's convincing my sisters to 1) make a 'horror' film for the youtube channel, 2) perform acrobatic tricks in the pool, 3) let him check their pulse/heart rate/veins.
And this doesn't even take into consideration the special connection Angel and my Mom have always had. Mom tells a story about how she was holding me in the hospital on the day I was born, and was given a need to pray for my future husband--not to pray that I would have a future husband, but to pray for the safety of a little boy somewhere out there in the world, to pray for wisdom, to pray for maturity and a loving family and all sorts of blessings upon him. She prayed for Angel for 18 years before she met him--and the first time she met him on Skype she said, after reading his introduction and application, she said, "I want to grow up to be just like Angel!" In my mom's eyes, everything Angel does is awesome, and in Angel's eyes, the world would be a much better place if everyone would simply listen to my mom. They repeatedly find random similarities, like the fact that they share a childhood hobby of climbing on top of the roofs in their respective childhood neighborhoods and jumping from roof to roof, trying to get around the whole street without touching the ground.
???? I mean, seriously, isn't that a rather odd coincidence, that my husband and mother have memories of playing the exact same ultra-dangerous, not-child-friendly game as children? I know I didn't spend my childhood jumping from roof to roof...but is this otherwise a normal activity?
Life isn't a competition. My family is an odd-yet-inviting one and I'm sure we'll adopt any future brothers-in-law just as heartily as Angel was adopted, without even a glance backward. Other guys won't need to be scared. Angel's just as normal as a guy who buys a bear costume off of ebay and wears it riding in the backseat while his wife drives her Chevy down country highways could be.
And, since I promised you Angelisms, here's a recent one:
Scene: Mother's Day, at Mom's favorite restaurant, with a party of 12. We're just about to sit down and order.
Angel: "Mom, I know I can't be buried next to you, but when I die, I want to be buried at your feet. Because I know that with all these kids and all the future grandkids there's not going to be a lot of room. I'm reserving the place at your feet for me."
*Entire room of 11 other people: mouths drop open. Everyone thinks, "Wha? Huh? I thought this was just lunch, not burial arrangements."*
Scene: We're making lunch together.
Rachel: "Are we even married?"
Rachel: "Okay, just checking."
Scene: Dinner table conversation about how life changes over the years and lessons learned, all introspective and serious.
Angel: "Yeah, we've learned a lot in our 5 years of marriage. At first, it was tough. I mean, when we first got married, Rachel didn't even want to shower at the same time as me, and..."
Younger sisters: *dying/screaming/giggling/horrified/head-shaking/pretending they aren't even in the room/running away and hiding in the kitchen*
Rachel: *shouting at Angel* "You are not allowed to say any more words."
Sometimes, you just have to draw the line. Problem is, Angel's line is in an entirely different location than ours, and I'm not sure how that happened.