Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Similarities and Differences of the Clark Girls

We may not have gotten to go home for Christmas, but we did get to spend close to a week with my three sisters and two brother-in-laws here in Seattle.

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What a precious gift!

Our house is not the place to come for a relaxing vacation. We love the city much too much to allow anybody to sit still for long around here. So, we wore each other slam out, but I'm pretty sure we made some memories we will never forget.

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I've been thinking about how I want to word this post...we didn't do many things new--that I've never blogged about before--so I don't really want to just throw the pictures up and tell you what we're doing. I've decided to tell you instead some things that I learned about my sisters on this trip. It's funny what can be made new when you haven't gotten to experience the day-to-day with someone for a long time. Yes we change some, but more than that I think time away affords you room to see small things that have been left unappreciated all along.

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How about we go in birth order? I am the oldest. A honeymoon baby and an utter accident :) There are four and a half years between Taylor and I, and then the next three happened all in a row. I think that partly because of this age gap, partly because of my personality, and partly because it's just the way it normally goes with the oldest child in a big family--I've always been the mother hen.
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The settler of arguments and the meeter (what a great word that is) of needs. I admitted something about my past self to my sisters this weekend, and I'm not sure they thought it nearly as big a revelation as I found it to be. We were re-living memories when the old "You never wanted us to be around you or your friends," joke came up. It is true, and I feel bad about it now, but they are right. I spent my childhood trying to be away from them, and I feel like I've spent my adulthood giving anything to be close to them. This is not knew knowledge, however.

What became clear as we perused some funny memories was that I resented them. I was always in charge, always telling them them "no," and my summers seemed like one very, very long babysitting job that I never got paid to do. It wasn't that I was just some angst-filled teenager that wanted my peace and quiet, I was angry at the responsibility they were to me. Whew, nice to get that out and move forward!

Taylor, number 2:
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The defender of the family. I've mentioned before that I can have a scrappy nature. However, if I really had a problem with anybody, I'd call Taylor. We have a story that sort of sums this up. One night, Mom and all four of us girls were staying at my house in Birmingham. It was not long after a string of robberies had occurred in our neighborhood and everybody was feeling a bit on edge as we went to sleep. In the night, we were all awakened by a loud sound outside (I still don't know what it was), and Taylor's immediate response was to jump out of bed and cry, "I'll fight to my death!"

I still laugh out loud every time I think about it.

This is how riled her spirit became at the thought of harm coming to any one of us. She is always the one I call if I get my feelings hurt. By the end of our conversation, I end up excusing away the injustice in order to calm her down. It's a great way to get over things. It is NOT great, however, to be the one IN a fight with Taylor. All three of us have been there as well :)

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Caroline, number 3:
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The eternal optimist. To Caroline, there is no problem that is not fixed with a simple answer. There is no bad day that will not surely be followed by a better one. If life seems like a burden to carry, I call Caroline. She always has a little sunshine to shower on it.

Throughout childhood she was known as "The Aggravater." Most poignant example was when she found Kendall crying in her room one day after getting in trouble. Caroline slid softly up to her side in, what looked like, an effort to console her little sister. Instead what we heard was, "You know what else, Kendall? I have your baby..." To which Kendall wailed all the more loudly. Sometimes, we still see this tendency creep up. Like this week when she sang the most random and annoying songs out loud, just long enough to get them stuck in our head, and then stopped. Over and over.

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Kendall, number 4 (I feel the need to say that this glamour shot photo is a joke):
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The surprising chameleon. I've been chewing hard on this one. I think if you asked any of the three of us, we'd probably say we have the most in common with and argued the least growing up with--Kendall. I feel like she's taken us all in over the past 21 years--she observed the good and the bad that we were all making a big deal over, and she quietly picked up the things around her that she liked and did it herself, without all the fuss the rest of us made.

For example, graduating from Houston Academy (my college prep high school)...nearly killed me. The drama show I must have been over my chemistry tests and Calculus exams! Then, a few years later, Kendall just graduated, and I realized I'd never heard her complain. She's still doing it. I feel like she sneaks up beside each one of us and can truly celebrate whatever is happening in our lives--partially because she just does whatever we're stressing over doing.

And she's pretty fun too :)

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Time with the three people who know my core more innately than anyone else, is always a joy. The surprising new blessing in all of our lives, however, is the addition of brothers.

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I would say that if I thought about it at all in the past, it was to dread there being men in our lives that would come in and disrupt our sweet sisterly communion. I could never have imagined the gift it would be to have these new additions. I feel extraordinarily blessed by God to not only love but enjoy my brother-in-laws. I love to see the parts of my sisters they draw out,

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and the similarities they recognize in the four of us that often we cannot see.

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Unfortunately, they have also formed a support group for "Men who have to deal with the Clark girls," but they at least help us laugh at out short-comings as we recognize them. And they are also committed to loving us deeply as they help us reign in these sin natures.

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And don't think we don't dish it back to them as well :)

Thank you Taylor, John David, Caroline, Riley, and Kendall for taking the time and expense to come and be with us. We love you so much!! and I can't think of any other way I'd rather have started 2011...

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17 comments:

Tara said...

What a precious post, Abby. It almost makes me want to go and have two more children so Brooks and Anna Kate can have more siblings to lean on--almost. :) What a special bond, and I love hearing about all of your different personalities. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year!! Hopefully one day we will get to talk in person when you and Jeremiah are back home! We would love to see the two of you sometime! Take care.

Nancy said...

What a beautiful family! All of the smiles show that you are really happy girls, and that is what matters in life!
Happy 2011!

Anonymous said...

Abby.. THANK YOU! For blazing the trail - showing us the great adventure you and your family have been on these last few months- and for being so talented and loving (in your older age - you werent quite so loving in your younger year_as you mentioned). I am excited about my moo moo night gown :)
Love all of you dearly..thanks for the great memories and bday surprise :)
sister 2: THE DEFENDER

Anonymous said...

It makes me feel so much better to know that I am not the only one who was resentful and unkind to my younger sibling (a brother) when I was growing up. I feel the same exact way as you do! I spent my teenage years trying to shut him out of my life, and now, I just constantly pray that he won't move away and forget all about me. He's one of my best friends!

Nicole said...

Such a sweet post, Abby. Sisters are so special. It's funny how they can drive you crazy growing up, and then they somehow turn into your best friends!

Lauren said...

abby, i love this post! sisters are truly special! i dont know taylor and kendall but i worked at the Ranch with Riley and Caroline! They are wonderful! Glad yall got such great family time together. happy 2011!

Denise said...

I really enjoyed this post... it almost made me want to add two more little girls to my family so that my two girls could experience this.... almost! Sweet post and sweet sisters. I'm a little jealous.

Katie said...

What a great post Abby...how blessed you are. Happy New Year!

Elizabeth said...

being an only child, i'm jealous reading about your sisterly bond. i have 5 very, very close friends that i consider to be like sisters, but it's still not the same. y'all are so pretty!

Elizabeth said...

I sent this post to my FOUR daughters. Wanted them to read it all and so relate. 2 married daughters and 2 single daughers. Ages 30, 28, 25, & 23

Thank you for this post. I love it. So far, 2 responses from 2 daughters, the single ones. The married ones, with children, are probably in the midst of baths and bedtime.

Great post!!!

Kendall Boggs said...

Oh Abbs! I'm sitting here wanting to respond to this post and can't find the words. All I can say is that I know your mom is looking down on you right now and is so proud of you and your sister. I told mom 2 days ago at her bedside. "Guess what mom?" "Becky's gonna be up there when you get there!!! And she's gonna be waiting with open arms" and I said to tell her hi for me and that I love and miss her.
I love you and your sisters.
kendall

Anonymous said...

The new and Improved internet version of " LA (Bama) Belles." an internet sensation refreshing honest and breathtaking your readers enjoy each and every post Happy New Year y'all. this is meant as a compliment I have just re read and maybe just maybe the LA may be misunderstood. How does a resident of AL have fun with the LA ( geographic) moniker please respond I hope this is all in good fun oh my am i over thinking this oh my the emphasis is on GEOgraphic oh dear should I start over

mitzi said...

Abby, How fun!! What a great time together. Beautiful pictures, once again. Know you, Jeremiah and the girls loved having them all there with you. Hope withdrawal went OK after they left. Hugs to all. and
War Eagle!

Heather said...

as the middle of 3 girls...
FAVORITE. POST. EVER.

Heather

Emily said...

What a beautiful, heart-felt post. Thank you; it was a true joy to read! As a mother of two girls - who never (but oh how I wished) had any sisters, just brothers - my prayer is that my girls will grow close, learning to cherish and support each other. Your post was a blessing!

Kat said...

Abby, what a beautiful post. I come from a family of three girls, although I only get to see my sisters once every two years or so (They live in Canada). I love spending time with my sisters too. Knowing all the inside jokes, how just a look can communicate a thought. Laughing until almost or actually peeing your pants. Sisters are the greatest gift!

aedozier said...

Wow! That makes me wish I had a sister or two! So sweet. Y'all are lucky to have each other!