I am thankful for the first friends God has given me- my brothers and sisters.
My brother Doug and I were first and best friends. We played together, had the same friends. We camped, rode bikes, played baseball and got sunburned, and played hockey on the frozen pond. Now, he is a man whom I respect and cherish. I know he doesn't think what he does as heroic. But I do. He serves his country in the United States Air Force, and loves his nieces and nephews. His compassion for all people does inspire me and sometimes (but don't tell him) he makes me think. He challenges us to look beyond ourselves and look to helping others. He does this in his own quiet way. Never would he take credit for all of the kindness he bestows on others, but I think he is pretty awesome.
I told my kids a couple of weeks ago that Uncle Joe and I got into a lot of fights as kids and I would kick his butt. Luke looked at me with his big brown eyes and said "You are lying! I am telling Uncle Joe you said that!" I laughed the day one of my kids asked me if Joe was my bigger brother now. I can see why since he towers over me. Words cannot tell you how proud I am of this kid. He has come through trials and tribulations that most couldn't dream about. He stands tall of who he is now. He is a man of God who seconds only to his mother in proclaiming the changing power of Jesus Christ. He pours his heart into his family. "Uncle Joe" is one of my kids favorite people. Even though I will always be the big sister, I do look up to the person he has become.
Patty has the biggest heart of anyone I know. She is the defender of the weak and will fight for those who can't. She loves her family fiercely and I can't wait to see the wife and mother she will become. She is the one of us who most closely walks like my mother. Her faith in God is undeniable as she is outspoken on her foundation. Patty is the person you go to when you need a kind word, a shoulder to cry on, or another warrior to your cause. She loves people completely and passionately. She is also a teacher, an advocate, and a fighter for special need kids. She reminds me to keep fighting and keep loving.
Finally, the baby- Christina Jean. She is the straighter talker and kick you in the butt when you need it. She isn't afraid to tell you what you need. In a world where everyone is so worried about saying the right thing, she is refreshing to know you can count on her for the truth. She is also loyal to her family. She is kind and caring. When Christy loves, she gives her whole heart and soul. I never met anyone who goes after her goals as she does. She is driven and committed. She inspires to dream about possibilities. She believes life has no limits and actually has me believing her! She is always a phone call away and hug when you need it. We tease her about being the touchy feely one, but she is always there when you need her.
Sometimes people are amazed to find out that I have 5 kids in this day and age. But I am always draw back to my own childhood. My own experiences. I think of these guys. My brothers and sisters. My lifelong, always got your back friends. I smile. I see the bonds my children are creating and know what a ride they are in for with each other.