We’re the stereotypical Catholic family—way too many kids, never miss a Sunday at Mass and lots of funny home videos. Although I’m the baby of the group and missed out on a lot, I get to travel around now to each of their homes and claim the guest bed as my own. Every brother and sister is so different, and I’m so lucky to have eight best friends around to hang out or listen and give advice.
Here’s the best of what I’ve learned from my eight siblings over the years.
The oldest and youngest in a family always have a unique bond, or at least that’s what we always say. Heather gives great advice for anything I come to her with, despite our age difference. Do you ever need to vent at 2 a.m. but everyone is asleep? This is never a problem for me. She’ll listen and offer me her best solutions for every broken heart and life issue. She reminds me that God is always by my side, and to put my trust and faith in Him and He will take care of the rest. I feel like I never need to hide anything from her.
The OG big brother will never pass up the opportunity to make sure I’m working hard in school (and at home). “What makes you stand out from all the others?” he texted me the other day, pushing me to go above and beyond everyone else. Les is probably the most hardworking person I know and is great at what he does. I look up to him for that, and hope I can make him proud one day when he sees his little sis rock the corporate world.
If I need a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the semester, I call Hope last-minute to claim the guest bedroom. Prepared with a mental list of fun things to do, I always look forward to our time together. Like Heather, I’ve gotten a lot of great advice from Hope. She’s taught me that no matter what I may be going through, I will always have someone to lean on.
I don’t think it’s possible to put Albert into words, but he and I are very close. We never fail to have a great time together. He taught me that imperfection is just a part of being human. Everyone makes mistakes, but what matters is what you do next. You can always be better and pick yourself back up when life knocks you down.
John helped me realize how lucky I am to have such a big family and loving parents. He showed me that when life gets frustrating and I want to run away from everything, I know my family will be there for me.
It’s nearly impossible to not crack a smile when I’m spending time with Palmer. He loves popping in for surprise visits and is by far the biggest Gator fan in the group. He also makes sure I’m doing my best in school and always reminds me of what I’m capable of accomplishing. The best part of having Palmer as a big brother? Always having a helping hand.
Imagine having a best friend that’s known you since you were born. That’s Mary to me, we’ve fought and laughed and cried together for 21 years. She may steal my clothes and annoy me sometimes, but I feel fortunate to have such a strong role model. She’s taught me so much over the years. To always get back on the saddle and try my best when I fail. To never let anyone bring me down. To remember that I’ll always have someone who has my back. I feel so lucky to be her little sister, but don’t tell her I said that.