10. my sibs

(#10 in a series of people who
changed the course of my life)

I know it’s a cliche, but the whole family is just whacked. I mean, we’re all out of our minds. They’re the funniest, most eccentric bizarre people I’ve ever met, my siblings.

–Dana Carvey

Raised as an only child, I lived with a touch of envy of people who had siblings. I would watch my own children enjoy relationship—and at times fight tooth and nail—their brothers, knowing they would have an ally who would defend them with every ounce of their beings.

And then, starting in my late 30s and through my early 40s, I would discover I have this amazing set of siblings–a brother on my birth-mother’s side and a set on my bio-dad’s side. Not quite whack or out of their minds, but definitely diverse and wonderful and crazy and lovely.

kathySissy, my oldest sister also known as Kathy, sets the standard for being a woman devoted to her family. Loyal and true, she is raising two girls who will become formidable women themselves, just like their mother. In fact, had we grown up together, I know she would be, as she is now, deeply nurturing of me, wanting me to be happy, and bringing out the very best in me. She’s so intelligent, compassionate, and giving.

mitchMy brother Mitchley, who shares the fab-u-lous gene I too was born with, is clever, witty, and like me, has overcome so many obstacles in his life to become successful and strong. Sometimes I imagine us growing up together: noses in books, exploring nature, and me driving him crazy with my incessant talking. (He is the quieter one!) He is introspective and wise.

michaelMy baby brother Michael—I am simply in awe of what he creates in the world. Since we were reunited when he was 17, I have found in him a person of the same heart, rich in art and expression, and an ally who will vigorously champion his big brother. A generation apart, I feel so completely intertwined with his being; perhaps it is because we were knit together in the same mother’s womb. Had we grown up together, we would have enjoyed competing for the spotlight of our mother’s affection, and sharpened one another as iron sharpens iron–much as we have come to be today.

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 8.44.34 PMAnd then there’s my sister Jenn–vibrant, driven, generous. She has become such a powerful force in the world. Overcoming many challenges and a mountain of self-doubt, she models for her daughter and those who are fortunate to see her as a mentor, what a woman of strength looks like. Had we grown up together, well it would look much like it does now—competing for the last word, a tad bossy, fiercely loyal; so similar in disposition are we, you’d think we were twins. She is largely responsible for vetting my goals and passions and, once convinced, holding me accountable to doing what it takes to achieve them.

These are my sisters and brothers. All these years of wishing for siblings of my own and now I have them.

I want to make them proud.

I want to be strong, like they are, and live my life in such a way that others will see how it is possible to overcome challenges life brings us and find success, and beauty and knowledge and love.

Through them, I have an extension of family through the people they love and that their love has created. I have a network of strength and unconditional love.

My tribe. My blood. My siblings.

siblings found

United–our first group meeting. (2010)

Inseparable. Matching shirts his idea and I love it! (2005)

Inseparable. Matching shirts his idea and I love it! (2005)

Hanging out with my brother (2014)

Hanging out with my brother (2014)

Free hugs, from our abundant love (2015)

Free hugs, from our abundant love (2015)

11. a place called HOPE

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