The best gift

My parents provided me with so much as I grew up.

They gave me the love of travel. When I was 12, my dad taught in Singapore for six months, and my half-year stay in Southeast Asia inspired my curiosity about different cultures and places.

They gave me a love of words. To hear them tell it, I read book after book (kind of like a certain toddler I know). One of my earliest memories is “writing” letters—squiggly lines across a sheet of paper—that I’d “mail” to family members. I now make my living as a writer and am so fortunate to work in my dream career.

But one thing I value over every other gift: They gave me siblings.

Ugly Christmas pajamas family photo
An outtake from the Ryan Family Christmas 2007 card

My sisters and brother were built-in playmates since the day I was born. My older sister Beth used to invent games for us, helping us imagine castles or winding mazes or prairie or swamplands in which we’d spend hours. I wanted to be just like my older brother, so I adopted a love of G.I. Joe’s and fishing; I also couldn’t wait til I was old enough to get a paper route, just like him. And my younger sister and I would talk or play games in the dark when we were meant to be sleeping, challenging each other to name all 50 states or list as many exotic animals as we could.

We’ve been through a lot together, and we emerged on the other side closer and stronger.

In a sibling, you have a confidante, an ally, a defender, a forever friend. I can’t wait for Peeper to have that.

And sometimes—especially today, Siblings Day—I can’t get over how insanely lucky I am to have these three weirdos to call mine.

Siblings togetherSiblings Santa Fe New Mexico

0 thoughts on “The best gift

  • April 10, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Such a sweet post! I’m so happy to have been able to give my children each two siblings. I always wanted my daughter to have a sister, but I think she will have to settle for two brothers because I’ve closed up shop.

    • April 10, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Haha! I’m so grateful to have a brother, and I’m sure your little girl will be, too. At the least, he taught me how to line fish and build an explosive out of a pop bottle and firecrackers. 😉

  • April 10, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    I grew up without siblings and definitely feel like I missed out. I am sure Peeper will love being an older sister. I have loved watching the bond develop between my kids since my daughter was born. I think it makes them both more well-rounded, and I know they love having each other.

    • April 10, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      I think it’s good for kids, too! I didn’t mention that my siblings and I also fought, but learning how to share and grow up with others is just as important a lesson.

  • April 13, 2015 at 11:27 am

    You four look like you have/had a lot of fun, and it’s very palpable the happiness and bond between the four even just in photos!


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