Although I come from a big family, I’m the youngest and the gap between myself and my two oldest siblings is quite a stretch. My oldest sibling, my brother Nathan, is 12 years older than me. To put that into perspective, he went to college when I was in first grade. My oldest sister, Becky, is 10 years older than me. For this perspective, consider this: She got married when I was nine years old and had her first baby when I was 14. Our lives were always pretty separated and our childhood experiences were not only different entirely, but they were also separated by a decade. My other sister is only three years older than me, and although we grew up best friends and shared a room for seven years, things changed after high school. In fact, she’s no longer in my life and hasn’t been since I was about 15. Every family has their drama, right? Let’s not get into that.
In a lot of ways I felt like an only child. While this allowed me to develop an incredible relationship with my parents, it didn’t really allow me to feel like I truly had a brother and sisters the way most of my friends did. I remember being so jealous going over to my friends’ houses throughout middle school, high school and college. They all seemed to have siblings only a few years apart or less. They were friends, they hung out, they had inside jokes and more importantly…they knew each other. If you had quizzed my oldest brother and sister about me when I was growing up, I don’t think they would have gotten anything right. It’s not really their fault…they were way older, they had “grown up” lives and no one really thought about me back at home a whole lot when they were developing careers and raising families.
When I was in college in Oklahoma, my sister, Becky, wasn’t too far away in Missouri. I thought maybe if I could just spend more time with her and take advantage of the only-5-hour-drive, maybe we could get to know each other and make up for all the lost years. Family is the most important thing to me and I didn’t want to go to college and let myself drift away. I wanted to let me family know me as I turned into an adult, hoping that when we were on more of a level adulthood playing field, that we’d be close later in life, even if we weren’t as kids. I want our families to know each other, go on vacation together, want to spend time together, miss each other when we’re away. So I started a tradition when I was a freshman. Every Fall Break in October, I would spend my break going up to Missouri and staying with my sister. Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Bonus Senior Semester…every one of my Fall Breaks was spent with Becky in Missouri.
And eleven consecutive years later, I’m sitting here writing this from Becky’s house, on my “Fall Break.” As it turns out, we did get to know each other way better in adult life. We made up for that lost time and that age gap. When I graduated from undergrad, I kept the tradition alive. I took vacation days from jobs and after getting married I still went on three day weekends, leaving Adam at home. Over the years, we discovered that many of our emotions and beliefs are the exact same although in so many ways, we could not be more different from each other. In the words of Larry the Cucumber in Veggie Tales, “I laughed, I cried…it moved me, Bob.”
This year, I thought it would be fun to quiz each other to see how much we know about each other now. So we picked 15 questions from an online quiz to answer about each other. Our answers are in Italic and, because I can’t help myself, I’ll expound a bit when needed 🙂
#1 What was their most prized childhood possession?
Becky: Her Baymbee (we actually have no idea how to spell the name I called my blanket so we decided that “Baymbee” was how it’s pronounced and therefore is how it shall be spelled. But my Baymbe was a white, pink and blue zig zag blanket that started as my brother’s and was passed down to each kid but I formed a hardcore attachment to it. I slept with it every night….and didn’t stop until halfway through college. Not ashamed.)
Thessali: Her cabbage patch dolls (it was tradition for grandma to get her new cabbage patch dolls. Viva la 80’s.)
#2 What did they do as a little kid that was super embarrassing?
Becky: She sucked her thumb (way longer than I should have which resulted in buck teeth you could throw a football through. Thank you, orthodontics.)
Thessali: She was a bed wetter (and she owns it now and is fine with me putting this in a blog post.)
#3 What did they want to be when they grew up?
Becky: Journalist? (wrong. I wanted to be a veterinarian. Veterinarian Barbie was my favorite.)
Thessali: A Mommy? (wrong. She wanted to be a teacher.)
#4 What did they always want on their birthday?
Becky: You always wanted Disney figurines on your cake (truth. Mom came through with that year after year)
Thessali: Your usual request was mom’s Texas Chocolate Cake. (Still legendary. Would still request.)
#5 What was their favorite book as a kid?
Becky: Harry Potter (truth. Nailed it.)
Thessali: Nancy Drew books (wrong. Babysitter Club books or Anne of Green Gables)
#6 What do you do that still drives them totally crazy?
Becky: Her sense of direction – as in she doesn’t have one (Can’t deny this. I get lost constantly. In my own city. Other places. On my way to Becky’s house this trip even though I’ve done this drive a million times.)
Thessali: I hate that you won’t respond to texts even though I *know* you have your phone (and Apple watch) and see it (to my credit: her own husband piped up on this one and said I was right so..nanny nanny boo boo)
#7 What is something that completely changed about them as they got older?
Becky: She used to be a skater (LOL my response – “I’m still a little punk goth kid in my heart)
Thessali: She has always been the biggest non-fussy tomboy that never ever worn makeup and now she works for a makeup company and wears makeup all the time
#8 What’s one of their go-to comfort foods?
Becky: Wine? Does wine count as a comfort food? (sure does.)
Thessali: Pizza. Specifically Shakespeare’s Pizza in Columbia, MO (and she collects the plastic cups to prove it)
#9 What’s the best place they’ve ever traveled?
Becky: London or just England in general (I would also add South Africa to this)
Thessali: Hers is also England (we lived there)
#10 What’s their favorite season?
Becky: Summer (I don’t have a favorite. I get equally excited for the start of every new season)
Thessali: Fall (bingo.)
#11 What is their dream job now?
Becky: President of the United States (I would literally never. But she got the general idea with politics/diplomacy)
Thessali: Your own bakery because you have a cookie decorating company you operate out of your home. (But she said her dream job is to be a stay at home mom.)
#12 What is their worst fear?
Becky: Losing a family member (nailed it)
Thessali: Losing her parents (also nailed it)
#13 What is your go-to activity when you are reunited with them?
Becky: Scary movies, coffee shops
Thessali: Haunted houses, game nights
#14 Are they team Bloody Mary, or team mimosa?
Thessali: Bloody Mary
#15 What are you most proud of them for?
Becky: That you haven’t backed down from being a woman in what usually is looked at as a male’s world. Being a successful woman in a male dominant career.
Thessali: You’ve been through things that would break a lot of people and fought through them all. And you’ve raised really good kids.
I hope you steal these questions and quiz your siblings!