Crazy Love

7:30 AM

There's a helicopter in my bathroom.

It makes noise. It lights up. It plays repetitious music. It makes itself obnoxiously present.

I hate that helicopter. The bathroom is a place of stress already, what with trying to get a wet wad of hair pinned to my head and find dental floss in a tornado wreck under the sink. The last thing I need is to hear chopper noises and, "Put your hands up! We've got you surrounded!" Which is how I feel, by the way.

Because that helicopter in my bathroom didn't fly in by itself. (It's lucky it didn't, or else it'd be flying right into the dumpster.) There's a little boy twirling its rotars, or whatever they're called: a little high-energy brother who runs into walls because that's how he rolls. He giggles -- he grins -- he'll sit still for stories and pummel you in the next minute.

I love that little brother. And that's why his helicopter is allowed in my bathroom (on occasions).

I pick up that little boy and smother him in kisses and spin him around and let him shriek. He asks me, "Gues what?" What? "You get to sit by me for lunch!" We go tromping around the kitchen with him on my hip, four though he is, and I tickle him until his giggle button is stuck.

Love is crazy. It's loud. It's madcap. It's run-around-the-house-laughing-out-loud.

I love this. I love this crazy love, the get-on-the-floor love, the type of love that's messy and loud and inconvenient. Being a big sister is like sticking your hands in a pile of wet clay, getting it all in your finger crevices. You may not make something out of it, but you've got the chance to do it. And then there's times between the crazy love that you see when your high tolerance levels pay off and when the grace of God worked for all the times you didn't let the helicopter roar without a fight.

I meet him on the stairway: he is at the top, I am climbing up to meet him. He puts his arms around my shoulders and I squeeze him.

"I love you."

"I love you too."

I meet him on the stairway again an hour later: he is on the bottom, I am on the top. "I was looking for you," he says. "I was looking all over the house and couldn't find you."

"Really? I was outside but I came back in because it's cold."


By way of conversation, "What are you up to?"

"Uh, I've got to go to the bathroom right now."

A friend and I joke about all the "child abuse" we could report to CPS about each other: we adore our little siblings, we tote them around like celebrities do to chihuahuas and teacup poodles, we think there's a purpose being the big sister beyond teasing and getting into fights. We think big sister is a verb, not a noun. We believe we can influence lives. We can do it by ignoring light up helicopters and chasing little brothers around the kitchen in the loud life of big families. Is it weird that teenagers can be so attached to younger siblings, being dangerously under the radar of those who would criticize us for "playing mommy"? Perhaps. But I don't think it's weird. I think it's a blessing. Big sisters have the best job in the world: how else can you love like crazy and not be entirely responsible?

So I guess that helicopter can stay -- if it keeps that cute little brother with it, that is.

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6 impressions

  1. "I" was/am the big sister and you are oh SO right! The hours I spent playing with my 2 siblings was priceless to me. The influence never stops, you will always be something truly similar to what you are now...and it is awesome!

  2. I have read that in large families you will sometimes see dyads form: special connections between pairs of siblings, particularly between one of the younger children and one of the older ones. This is not to say that all the siblings do not love each other and that older siblings do not help out with all the younger ones, just that some siblings are going to be naturally more compatible than others and the little ones may find they gravitate to one of the older ones more often when they need something. Do you find this to be true in your family? It seems you have a particularly special relationship with the little brother who is the focus of this post (and he is also in your About Me pic, correct?) Do you see any other dyads among your siblings?

    I enjoy reading your "big sister" posts. Your family is obviously very loving and that love shines through in every word.


  3. Oh, if only big brotherhood was so fun. Your younger siblings seem to see a challenger rather than a friend. That's my experience atleast.

  4. Mrs. Howard -- So true!

    Adele -- That is very much the case in our family. Daniel Franklyn (the subject of this post and the cute guy in the About Me pic) forms a very tight dyad with me. My two youngest sisters, the baby and the nine-year-old, have a strange dyad, and they adore one another. All roads lead back to the big sister (the baby wants me to hold her over all the other sisters...hard not to be proud...actually it's pretty humbling). There are so many opportunities to give (and get, to be selfishly honest) love. :o)

    Tuathal -- You definitely have an interesting big brotherhood experience, I must say. ;o) But there's something to be said about how little guys attach themselves to older girls and little girls will die for the attention of big brothers/cousins/uncles/etc. You having all younger brothers (and they being super close in age to you) leaves you at a decided disadvantage. If it makes you feel any better, your theoretical baby sister would adore you. :o)

  5. I'm VERY close to my little brother too - you should have seen the priceless gifts he gave me for my bithday!.. (A poster sized card.. flowers..and my favorite kind of gum...he put flowers in my hair.. )

    I'm a believer in helping boys into young men.. not beating them down as a crazy little brother who's always in the way.
    (Same with sisters.)

  6. He *is* cute. I also love my little brother, maybe just as much.
    About the "dydads", I definitely have one with my younger sister, Allison. And maybe baby Ava, I'm not sure.


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