Family events like this are the only time I get to see my three big brothers. Yes, I am the baby, the spoiled one, the one who got away with everything. I tell everyone that Mom and Dad just kept having kids till they got the perfect one! I can say that, but the truth of the matter is that I was the unexpected child. When Dad heard another child was coming, he mixed himself a martini! And when they found out they were having a fourth child, I know they were hoping for a girl. When the doctor came out of the delivery room, he said, "Fred, it's a boy." My Dad responded, "Oh my - Pat is not going to be happy with you." The doctor said, "Ah Fred, I think Pat is not going to be happy with YOU."
My brothers teased me something awful growing up. Mom said that they wouldn't tease me if they didn't love me. I guess they loved me a LOT! One of their favorite things to tell me is that when they were younger, they were all girls. And when they reached a certain age, they all became boys. It always happened to be my upcoming birthday was going to be the year I became a girl. I guess it is now when I turn 54 that it's supposed to happen.
I love getting together with my brothers and their families. Mom and Dad have been gone for some time now, so this is where I am able to touch the past and remember. It is also a time for us to see each other as parents and grandparents. All of my brothers are grandfathers, and I love to see them in that role. The love and joy they pour out on those children is great to see. In them I can see my Dad's gentle nature and caring attributes.
I know that family members can sometimes drive us crazy, and sometimes the things that we do or leave undone cause rifts that can last a lifetime. But I believe there are blessings from God we receive through family. Support, nurture, love. These are the people who have seen us at our best and our worst, and still call us brother or sister. These are the ones who often are there when everyone else has left us, These are the ones with whom we learned life's lessons. And these are the ones who an influence in our children's lives too.
My brothers - I give thanks to God for them!
Pictures from 2011, 1979, 2012 and 2015 (we are in the opposite order in the last one!).