I have shared my family with you before. I have also shared with you how important my family is to me and I am a firm believer that family is everything.
I come from a large family- I am the oldest of five. There is me, then three boys and then my little sister. This is what our family looked like in 1988.
Our parents raised us and did the very best they could. We were broke, as many people are. My family struggled significantly in more ways than one. Our father fought many demons. While our childhood is not something I plan to air at this moment, I want you to get the overall picture. My parents have five children who are quality, giving, noble adults. If we chose, we easily could have been very lost children who grew up to be very lost adults and repeated many cycles.
Our childhood has shaped us into the parents we are today. In turn, we are also a solid foundation for one another- if your ship is sinking we’re all jumping in with you. It’s all for one and one for all.
Over Spring Break, my oldest brother and his wife and kids, went with my husband and me to visit my in-laws in San Antonio for the week. One of those days we were there we made a trip to Corpus Christi to show our kids the ocean.
I look at my nephew, Troy, who is my brother’s oldest child, and I see my brother 25 years ago.
Troy’s build, stature and demeanor are all duplicated. Troy is my brother James made over- he is one of my childhood friends reinvented.
My brother is always there. He never misses a game, he seeks every opportunity, he is present, he is aware. His kids know he loves them.
The thing is, no one really ever taught him how to be a dad. No one really taught any of my brothers how to be a dad, but they all have this instinct. They own their role.
Showing love was something that was very hard for our dad to do when we were growing up. I think as we are adults it is something he likely regrets. None of us blame him, he really simply did the best he could.
But to see my brothers being a dad is the most amazing thing.
When we left the beach this particular day, my brother walked next to his daughter. The kids were tired from running on the beach. We were a bit sun burned and the salt water was hard on their skin. Actually, we had not planned to swim because it was not warm enough, but the kids begged to get in. Their clothes were soaked as we walked back to the car, unprepared and we knew we had to make a stop at the nearest Walmart for something dry to wear.
But everyone had fun and that is what counted most.
My brother turned to Gracie, his daughter who will be five in just a few weeks, as we walked to the car. He said the sweetest words to her, his tone was so soft. He said, ” Gracie, you looked beautiful on the beach today.” My heart melted.
Later that day Gracie was riding in our car and a song came on the radio about a man buying a woman flowers.
Gracie chimes in. She tells us her daddy has bought her and her mommy beautiful flowers before. She was so honest and so confident.
Have I mentioned how proud I am of my family? I know how lucky we are. And I absolutely admire the fathers and men my brothers have grown up to be.
(These picture I took from my sister-in-law. She is their mother, my brother’s wife. She is also a photographer and the owner of these images.)