To my sisters and brothers,
I know I tell you I love you a lot, but I am feeling very oldest-sisterly today and decided to tell you exactly why I’m so proud of y’all. (and yes, I just said y’all. you can laugh at me now)
Matthew, I remember when we were kids and you’d always come up with crazy board games or stories. I remember getting in trouble with you and always trying to stick up for you. I still feel that same protectiveness to you, probably always will, and I’m so proud of you for all you’re doing right now. You’ve been facing some fears, doing some serious adulting (a car, jobs, music school, loans, bank accounts, etc). I’m so proud of you as an amazing musician- and as much as I complain about it at three in the morning, I really do love falling asleep to your music at night. I can hardly wait to see all the amazing music you’ll make! You’re so talented at everything you set your hands to, even Rocket League ;) I hate when you’re not home, even if we’re not hanging out it’s still nice knowing you’re here. I love your honesty and the wisdom you impart to me about men. Lord knows I need that wisdom. I love you, and I’m so glad you’re my brother.
Thomas, you’re so brave. You’ve been through a fair amount the last few years, and you still keep going. You’re such a good friend to your friends. I’ve been loving watching The Flash and Arrow with you lately and just hanging out in general. Mom asked me to try to convince you to go stay at home more often instead of here, and I told her that honestly I was the wrong person to ask because I just love having you around. Today when I was so bummed about life stuff and came downstairs, you immediately took action and forced me to play pool with you and tried to console me. One thing that makes me super proud of you is how hard you work, and how you are planning for the future. I’m so proud of who you’re becoming- and your humble spirit when you’ve hurt someone. I’m proud of the way you’re approaching big decisions and heart matters. I love you and am so thankful for you.
Hannah, wow, where do I start. You’re probably the sibling I have the most personal regrets about. It pains me to think of the ways I’ve failed you as an older sister that you’ve needed growing up but I wasn’t really there for you. I love you so so much! I’m so proud of how faithful, strong, and glorious you are. You are vibrant, brave, and ambitious. I’m so proud of your grace-filled heart and what you bring into a room you enter. It wouldn’t surprise me if you commanded an entire army. I’m proud of how you’ve grown up, so steadfast and loving. I love laughing with you and the hilarious things you say and do. I love lying on the floor laughing our heads off or shopping or talking. I’m so grateful that we’ve become better friends the last couple years, and I’m so excited to see what God has in store for you. Holy crap! You’re going to college this year (?!?!?!?!?) and seriously. I believe with all my heart that you could do anything. I’m so very proud of you.
Serah, I think we’re a lot alike. And before you balk at that- because I know you might not want to be like me- I mean that in the way that we understand eachother. And I like that. I’m so proud of you, in all your wildness and muchness. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to be less or quieter. You have so much power in your words and I know there’s a reason God has given you such a way with writing. I’m so proud of the things you write- they are pretty brilliant. And you’re so creative! I’m proud of the way you’re growing and learning, and your feistiness. I’m proud of you setting your hands to work and the faith you have, even about your Hawaii trip. I’m proud of the way you are learning to love your friends. You know how sometimes there’s just super happy moments that stick with us through our lives? One of my happiest moments was sitting on mom and dad’s bed when you were one year old, and I would have been eight- and we were just sitting there laughing and laughing and you were being so cuddly and we were cuddling, and I remember thinking to myself, This is the happiest moment ever. I love you!
Jacob, it still boggles my mind that you’re thirteen. How did that even happen? And I know that’s a super dorky thing to say. But you’ve seriously grown up so much lately and everytime I see you I am so amazed. You’re hilarious, and smart, and quick with your witty comebacks. And not only that, but you have the sweetest heart and such a tender way with the kids. I’m so proud of that. I’m so proud of the way you are with animals. Here’s proof of how much I love you: I don’t even mind when you take fifty selfies on my phone. You bring me so much joy and I love hanging out with you. I love hearing about your accomplishments in minecraft and whatever cool things you’re doing. I’m so proud of who you are, and I’m so glad you’re my brother! Bonus: you have great fashion sense. I love talking to you and I love you!
Maggie, my little twin, I love you! You make me laugh so much and also cry, in a good way. Like the time you and Caleb played violin for my birthday, it made me so happy I cried. I’m so proud of you, in all your hilarity and kindness and understanding. You are so wise and have such an old soul for such a young girl. Bless you in your growing and learning. You are worth so much and I hope you always remember that, in all your friendships, relationships, and life. I’m so proud of your mad violin skills, rad fashion sense, and amazing sense of humour. I love doing markets with you and chatting and listening to you talk about the cool things happening in your life and all the thoughts you have. I remember one time this last summer when you came with me to the market and we hung out all day. I started crying at some point (what a surprise!) when I realized that I was hanging out with not just my little sister- who was not so little anymore- but a friend as well. :) You are so intuitive and sensitive and I so appreciate that about you.
Caleb, you sassy kid, I can’t believe the hilarious things that come out of your mouth sometimes. You’re funny. But you’re also so wise and kind- and have so much to offer people. I’m so excited to see who you’re becoming. I’m proud of you, growing up, the way you play with Benny, the way you love your little sisters, the way you talk about Jesus. You really don’t like boredom, and I think that’s a good trait to have, even though it can be frustrating for you now. One day that dislike of sitting around and being bored is going to push you to do really amazing things and to be faithful in the little things. I’m so proud of the way you take care of the chickens. And I love you, so so much!
Mercy, sweetheart, you always have so much to say, and I love that. You’re sensitive, sweet, and caring. I can’t believe how loving you are to Selah, and the rest of us. Even the way you thought to make Dad a valentine this Valentine’s Day. You’re such a lovely sister, and I’m so thankful for you! I’m so proud of the five year old you are, vibrant and brilliant and funny. I can’t believe how smart you are! You are wild and I’m so thankful for you and your wild, glorious, self. You’ve brought so much healing and life to our family with just your existence. Bless you to never forget the mercy of God, and to never stop giving mercy and love to those around you, like you do now. You are such a gift. I love you!
Selah, you didn’t call me back yesterday like you promised, but I still love you. Haha! You’re the most hilarious kid ever, and I don’t know what I’d do without you. I’m so glad we get to hang out lots. You’re so good at uno and drawing and writing, and take such good care of Mercy and Benny. I’m so proud of you, and your bluntness, honesty, and tenderness. Thanks for never ceasing to cheer me up! I’m very proud of the joy you bring to all of us. Selah refers to a musical interlude in the middle of Psalms, and I honestly can’t think of a better name for you: the musicians just going wild with vibrant creativity, worshipping, but also having all these terrific solos with cool riffs. You’re like that: this burst of happiness and spunk, and I’m so proud of you in who you are now and who you’re growing to be.
Benjamin, you’re so young still and it’s kind of hard to see who you’re going to be this early. But who you are right now is so much fun and so sweet. I love holding and cuddling you, and playing games and following you around the house. I’m always so thankful for when Mom actually leaves you with me and we get to play. I’m so proud of the little squirt you are, exploring and learning and growing. You’re so smart and loving! The other day I was just sitting on the ground crying and you randomly just walked up to me, leaned your head on my shoulder, and gave me a side hug, and it was the sweetest thing ever. You are such a healing, happy delight to us all and I love you so so much!
Above all, I want you all to remember how much I love you and how grateful I am for each of you. There aren’t words to describe how proud I am for you- I tried, above, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface.
Thanks for being there for me the last few years, through everything. I couldn’t have made it through any of this without you. You have each brought me so much love and I sure don’t deserve it. I want you to know that I’ll always be here for you, to listen, and support you in whatever you’re doing. I’m so excited to see God’s plans for you and how your lives pan out. You are such beautiful treasures.