Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Role Reversal

I grew up the oldest sister of nine. With this role comes great responsibilities. You are mom's right-hand girl, and "little mother". You learn early to change diapers, comfort a baby and help get people dressed. You get to boss little people around and "encourage" them to do that list of Saturday chores you have taken upon yourself to divide evenly, type up and print with little boxes to check when completed, etc. Although they sometimes use your makeup like fingerpaint, you get to be adored by the young ones and everything you do is brilliant and funny - even bad impressions of Cruella deVille or silly theatrical productions. They sometimes crowd your space and cramp your style, but you love them a whole lot.

Then something happens.

You grow up and realize that these younger siblings are watching you, copying you, and following your example. You work harder to made right choices because you know that chances are, they'll follow your lead. More than wanting them to be like you, you want them to be happy. You go to church (even when you are away at college and no one is watching), you serve in callings, you get a job, you work hard, you pay for school, you study hard, you earn a degree, marry in the temple and work hard to teach your own children to "walk in the light". You try not to rule your own kids with the bossy big-sister "iron fist". Old habits die hard.

This past week my younger siblings put their jobs on hold and boarded a plane, with kids in tow, and came out to help me while Josh was on a business trip for the week. Catherine (six months pregnant) brought her two young boys, who were so much fun, so polite and such great playmates for my kids. We had lots of trains chugging around!

Tim left his job and took "vacation" to bring his enthusiasm and knowledge of how to conduct a full-blown action-figure battle. I have fond memories of seeing Tim and James battle J.I. Joes in the same way. It was so fun seeing all the kids follow Tim around like the Pied Piper.

"What are you drawing, Tim?"

They both helped me cook, clean, vacuum, care for my kids and take them on outings so I could have a rest. It really was so humbling to see these "little" kids taking care of their big sister in such a selfless way, always asking, "What else can I do?".

When the kids were in bed or playing, we got to have some great conversations, catching up and talking about our lives and our hopes and goals for the future. I admire them so much. Cath for her gentle and kind way of mothering, and disciplining in a positive way. She reminds me so much of Mom. Tim for his kind heart and desire to prepare for and work towards an eternal family. The girl he marries will be so, so lucky! I can't wait to meet her! I found myself sitting there listening to them, watching them, wanting to follow their lead and be more like them. It was wonderful.

Movie Parties (watching Tangled)
Arts and Crafts

My son showing an excellent example...
Cath was here with us for Mother's Day.
"Happy Mother's Day"

This was about three seconds before that cake was rejected and sent flying to the ground.
Cath caught it in mid-air. It was awesome.

We had a great time. Thank you, family!


Cara and Steve said...

Very sweet post Amy :) I'm so glad that Tim and Catherine were both able to come up and visit! It's so nice to have siblings that love and care for each other. I hope you were able to get some rest and recovery in during that time... I'm sure Catherine was a big help! Looks like the crafting supplies I sent are still doing their job :) I hope it was a wonderful Mother's Day... you are an example to me of an incredible wife and mother. Miss you lots,


Brett said...

What an awesome family you have!

Brett said...

Sorry, I was logged in under Brett's name but this is Dianna.

Holly said...

I'm glad your family is so giving and can come spend time with you. I bet the kids loved having extra playmates too. Let me know if you ever get through all those "freezer casseroles" and would like me to bring you dinner....or more importantly--let me know if you need anymore cookies!

steph said...

How great to have a family who is willing to be 'close' in spite of the miles. That is tremendous.

Taylor's said...

You have an AMAZING family!

PS I had no idea Catherine was pregnant!

Nicole said...

that was awesome. Catherine is absolutely beautiful and Tim is awesome. Any girl would be lucky to marry him for sure!! I told Stephen the other day that he is the most useful brother I have. He has worked in the most variety of jobs and I could call him to do anything from moving me across the country to catering a wedding. Each of which he can do with ease.

Two Dot Crew said...

I'm Susan Ploeger (Whittaker, now). Your sister Catherine and I were the same age and went to school together for a while. I'm not sure you remember me, but I came across your blog through my sister, Catherine Taylor.

You have such an amazing family. I remember sitting in church and just admiring your mother's gentle nature and loving spirit. No doubt her daughters are now following in her footsteps...