Five kids, two countries, three states, and one tattoo

The other day I had a major mom-ent. My two kids were sitting at the dinner table and starting yelping at each other at the top of their lungs and laughing at each other between each yelp.

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I realized in that 30 second moment that the sibling bond is so incredibly unique and precious. For the first time it dawned on me that my kids will be friends with each other, and probably better friends with each other than with me, mom. It was super bittersweet. I really pray that even with all the ups and downs that come with having siblings they are able to be friends and really good friends all their lives.

These days its often more downs than ups, but I know it will get better with time.
These days it seems to be more downs than ups, but I know it will get better with time. Frederick really wants to show Edith love and this is not how she wanted to be loved!

This past summer I got a tattoo. First tattoo. Maybe only, we’ll see. The tattoo often sparks a conversation because people want to know what it means. Inevitably, this leads into a five hour long (just kidding!) discussion about my siblings.

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At Christmas last year, my sisters and I were talking about how rare it is for all five of us siblings to be together. Somehow we all decided to get a roman numeral five tattoo as a representation of who we are and our love for one another despite the distance in miles and time. Since my sister was getting married in July, we all agreed to get it before the wedding. Apparently, only two of us followed through with this timeline, but I’m positive everyone else will follow through with the plan. Right guys?!

My three gorgeous sisters.
My three gorgeous sisters.

There are seven years between all five of us. While some kids may grow close in the early years due to a tight age gap, we were pretty independent and this independence only seemed to grow the older we got. I usually run down the family story like this. I’m the oldest who moved from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Toronto, Ontario for my Bachelor’s Degree. Each Christmas and summer I would visit for a week and then upon finishing school moved back to Grand Rapids.

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My sister Carolynn, who is 18 months younger than me, moved to Montana after graduating from college and has been living there since. My brother Mike went to West Point and is now serving in the military, which means he’s either on a base 8 hours from where I live or abroad in some very far off country. My sister Heidi lived in Spain and bopped around Europe for a year while in college. She plans to live abroad again soon. My youngest sister Rose just moved to Bristol, England for her Master’s Degree.

This is my
This is my “go don’t go” face.

By the end of me explaining my tattoo, I’m out of breath and strangers or new friends learn way more about me than either of us ever intended. What I’ve come to appreciate and realize about my siblings is that we have all become very intentional about the times when we are all in the same room. Not living within a couple hour drive or even a day drive away makes connecting in person impossible. So we’ve taken to group text conversations … that usually end with someone talking about poop. We soak up every minute when we are all together, even if it is for just 24 hours, often staying up late into the night and sacrificing sleep and sanity.

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Basically, I’m super grateful for my sisters and brother. They rock. They make me laugh like no one else can. They make fun of me like no one else can. Love you guys!

P.S. I’m officially calling you out if you haven’t gotten the tattoo yet. Just kidding, but really, it’s on the internet so get yourself inked!

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