The four musketeers; the four amigos who occasionally want to kill each other. The four goons who have some seriously good blackmail on each other, and always annoy everyone else by saying ‘Remember when…’ and launching into a story only we’re privy to because, hello, it’s always been the four of us. Always.
Ih ad some awesome friends growing up, and all of said friends too my siblings as part of the package deal. Just like their friends. Anyone who spent the night with Devon accepted the fact the other three of us were going to figuratively torment them by any number of cleverly devised ways.
Whether that be climbing two stories in tin-foil masks, painting themselves in black house paint and running around like a bunch of horror story creatures, running out in front of their cars last minute and causing childhood heart attacks, you name it.
It hasn’t always been fun and easy though. We’ve gone through EVERYTHING together. The best of times and the truly worst of times. The scary shit, the uncertain shit, the shit that makes you wonder how you can come back from it, and the stuff that will hold close to your heart until your last breath.
As an adult in a large, very tight-knit family, it’s been a learning curve to figure out how to grow as an individual when so much of my life is entwined with theirs. Being the oldest, it was REALLY hard to leave home. I had frequent nightmares about something happening to my siblings and I wasn’t there to protect them. It was hard to feel like I had been the only person who parachuted out of the family plane. It was hard and I didn’t cope with it well.
Getting married, my poor husband often felt the same way. Like a drifter being pulled along behind the yacht because of how close we are. It’s so easy to fall into step with just being the ‘four of us,’ that I have to consciously keep including him at the top of my mind. God, that makes me sound like a terrible spouse, but it’s not any less true. Including him in group texts, making new memories of the ‘five of us,’ letting him build his own relationship with his new, overwhelmingly large group of younger siblings. Everyone has worked hard on it. Because ANY relationship is work.
They’ve all been gracious and patient. Each figuring out where their place is, how to interact, learning new ways after all of us old dogs had become so sedentary in our old ways. Watching it has both been the most terrifying experience and the greatest.
Now it’s less awkward. Chris and Devon go fishing together. Matthias and Chris can laugh for HOURS about anything under the sun. Savannah and Chris go and get matching tattoos and send each other more sentimental sibling stuff than I’VE EVER RECEIVED. SAVANNAH. It’s been a trip to watch. One of the realest, most terrifying, most exciting trips. As my siblings welcome each and every life I bring into the family, I’m proud of them. I’m reminded what an exceptional group of family and best friends I have been gifted.
So here is a synopsis of where we are now:
Matthias graduated Calvin College and is a 1st Lieutenant in the Army. He works in Washington D.C. and has just returned home from his first deployment. He no longer has braces and enjoys mimosas, pink shorts, and globe trotting. He’s exceptional at being understanding, giving people the benefit of the doubt, and being one of the more logical and even-kiltered of the group. He’s been known to make me regroup and instilling a good sense of common sense in me when I get a bit worked up. We keep trying to convince him to write and perform slogans and skits of people because they are ON POINT. He can make an entire room laugh and rarely misses a single beat.
Devon is on his way to Wayne State in the fall semester and has experienced so much exciting stuff. From tour guiding kayaks in Pictured Rocks to protecting chickens from demonic raccoons, he’s the sense of adventure and confidence in our group. He has collected stick poke tattoos along the way, enjoying pilfering other people’s cool clothes, and is always there to lend a hand with a complete lack of judgement. He is good at walking into a loaded moment and diffusing it with the easy of the breeze. His first book is in the works of being published. Devon also has a dog, Bucket, who every single person loves and adores because Devon has allowed Bucket to foster this incredible persona.
Savannah is on her last year at U of M and has experienced most of her early adult life with her trusty sidekick, Boogey the mop dog. She’s a badass rugby player with the attitude of an old man who feels slighted by life, but loves food. The way to make her day is with a sub platter and a good meme. Savannah is the one who walks into my house, sees what needs to get done and helps with it, no matter how gritty the task, without a second thought. I call her with anything and everything and she could probably double as me in the event of needing a body double. We’re so similar that when we’re in the same room, Eleni has to look between us a couple times to make sure she’s with the right one.
Chris and I have been married seven years. We own the barber shop and have two kids who do their best to catch us off guard every minute. We enjoy cheap diner food and coming up with ideas that make everyone question our sanity, but work out surprisingly well in the end. Our house is always in a state of happy chaos and neither of us would trade it for peace and quiet for a single minute.