Last weekend the final member of my immediate family met the Beans. My littlest sister (there is one in between) came down from Humboldt to meet her nephews. She ended up driving down with my other (middle) sister. She was so excited to be able to come to us (she is a VIP at her workplace and lives a 12 hour drive away so this was no easy feat). Since their birth she has been perusing their photos on Flickr and just dying to hold them. And I have to say she was the natural with them that I thought she would be.
It was an awesome family weekend with a trip to the beach, (any families looking for a great orange county beach should check out Salt Creek; grassy knolls, sandy beach and flush toilets. amen.) a lot of food and some extra time to sit in the backyard and talk over drinks, finally enjoying a bit of the summer nights. We had a delicious BBQ Saturday night. My middle sis, Manders, made sinfully creamy potatoes (ahhh, how I miss the calories breastfeeding burned off). My little sister is an excellent baker and prepared a light summer dessert
that we basically inhaled in a few minutes. There is a policy in our house, it stems from growing up with 8 siblings in one place at feeding times…it is “Get it while you can,“ it may not be pretty, but we are effective at not leaving leftovers.
I cannot complain about not having enough hands around to help, but there is
something about having my sisters. There is an easiness with them. Watching them hold the Beans, watching them feeding and talking and playing with my sons, it made me realize there is no one like family out there. I loved it and they loved it and it was all good. One thing made me laugh. Little sis helped me out for the better part of Friday, the next day she commented on the intensity of caring for them…I guess I have just gotten used to it. For the most part.
I have so much to be grateful for. These boys are experiencing the world around them just as I had hoped. Lately my younger brothers have been sharing and caring, becoming more comfortable with the babies. They are in their late teens and are just about the age I was when they were born. They are stellar young men, really special. I love watching their interactions with the boys, and the boys are truly fascinated by them too. I don’t know if it is their sheer size or something, the Beans are always riveted on them. I tend to think this is the best birth control ever…for my brothers to witness the reality of ‘baby’ before heading off to college and out into the world. It sure worked for me, Tim and I waited 12 years before entertaining the idea of parenthood. As tough as living communally can be at times, the sheer amount of extra hands around ensures some time out for this mama, and I really believe it makes a difference in the lives of our children. They have so many loving people who cherish them, not in a doting fashion, but in a lovely and supportive way.
Oddly enough, I feel like the house is empty half the time. You have to understand that I grew up here with 9 other people in constant attendance, not to mention the periods when my mom had a home daycare, or when waves of friends would descend on the place because they know how we cook here. Dinner was often served daily for 10-14 people, all sitting together at the table and sharing. Just a regular meal…not a holiday celebration. In the last few years, as we spread out a bit, bought houses, moved around, the number dwindled to 6-8, an adjustment, to be sure. But now, well, often there are only 5-7 at the table….and there are some days when it is just Tim and I. We are already having the Beans sit in their captain chairs while we eat together at the evening meal, just to encourage and introduce them to the idea of eating as a family. So, I guess we can count them.
It is a blessing and a challenge to grow up with a family of my size. It helps that we like each other. But I am finding that I miss my siblings more than ever lately. I did not feel this way in my early 20s when we all were establishing ourselves and our lives, we shared them but did not always have to be near. Now, with the boys, I wish I could gather the further ones closer so we could drop in on each other whenever. I wish my sisters were around the corner and that those rare family dinners occurred frequently. It is enough to see them when we do, but also not enough. I love that in our lives we have little desire to compete with each other, rather we support each other. There is a possibility my middle sister will come to stay a bit with us , just the idea makes me giddy. And she knows how to sew, and she has a rad machine. I told her not to tease me with the possibility…just to come back if she can. But it really brings home the fact that my family is my foundation. Tim and I have fostered a life with these people. It is a good life.
I can truly say now the Beans have been introduced into the world that will be theirs. They have met and been held and cared for by the people who will be their mainstays. Their uncles (all 5 of those crazy guys) will be taking them surfing and camping and skateboarding and lego-ing (you should see the size of the storage box in the garage). Their aunts will cook and sew for them. Their GP’s will love them and watch them. And their parents will get the occasional breather to sit down together, gaze across a table at Café Allegro and smile at the blessings brought our way. What can be better than family? Not much.
A huge and loving thank you to any and all family members reading this today. You make our lives lovely. Kisses and hugs from family Yates.