HOLY CRAP, YOU DID THAT?!
As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I have five brothers; three older and two younger. When I was born, my oldest brother was only 3-1/2 years old. Can you even imagine? Four kids under the age of four? Eventually, that grew into six under the age of nine! ON PURPOSE!
Boggles. The. Mind.
We grew up being referred to as "the three big boys", "the girl", and "the two little boys".
Thanks to our mom, we are masters at folding fitted sheets and can make a bed with enough precision to pass a military inspection. Some of us, unfortunately, are also a bit OC about those things, too. Just ask my husband.
Being "the girl", I was lucky enough to always have a room to myself. Something my older brothers resented. Rightfully so, since they shared a bedroom that was usually half of a poorly converted garage with a hot water heater lurking in the corner, or a basement room with concrete walls and tiny windows. Now that I think about it, they kinda lived like bats ... *shakes head* Anyway, they froze in the basement during the brittle cold northern Indiana winters, and roasted in the garage during the nonstop, sweltering heat of south Florida.
The two little boys shared a room, which induced minimal drama. Except for that time they, and only they, got an in-window air conditioner in their bedroom. Then all hell broke loose. Albeit, quietly and behind our parents’ backs. We were smart enough not to complain in front of them.
Our father was gone a lot for work, so our mother ran our house like a boot camp drill seargeant.
When our name was called from the other side of the house, the appropriate response was "Coming!" Making them wait with a lazily uttered, “Yeah?” or “What?” was NOT an option. As a kid, I remember cringing when a friend did this to her mom. We were expected to stop whatever we were doing and hustle to wherever they were. Upon arrival, we greeted them with a respectful, "Yes, ma'am?" or "Yes, sir?", then silently awaited further instruction.
An eye-roll, slammed door, or click of the tongue was equivalent to talking back. None of which were tolerated. On the contrary, punishment was swift and mighty.
Our life was so structured, we were each assigned a color. That's right. A color. From oldest to youngest; our colors were blue, green, yellow, pink (give you one guess), black, and red. Everything we used was color-coded. Toothbrushes, towels, including the matching plastic towel rings which hung in order of age, even my brothers' white gym socks had corresponding stripes. Made it easier to tell what belonged to whom.
She was EONS ahead of today's so-called "organizational experts" with their TV shows and coffee-table books. Had she marketed those skills; I would be an heir to an organizational empire right about now! But, alas, I am not.
Growing up, I knew kids whose parents didn't demand this same level of discipline and structure. Kids who didn't have rigid bedtimes and weren't required to make their beds every morning. Kids who got an allowance for doing chores we were expected to do because we "lived under their roof". I doubt they ever had to double-up in the shower, wait in line to use the toilet, brush their teeth, or to get their plate of food at mealtime. Yeah, my mom dished up our food, too. Oldest to youngest. Always. Probably the only way she could ensure everyone actually GOT food!
Our parents weren’t perfect, far from it, but the disciplined, structured life they created for us put us ahead of the game. Because let’s face it, the world has a way of chewing up and spitting out the weak. Good, bad or indifferent, my brothers and I are who we are today as a direct result of our collective childhoods. And it’s like I always say; six kids and none of us are dead or in prison. That's a win in my book.
On the contrary... (prepare for bragging)
#1 was a Marine Corps officer who went on to work for the FBI as a tactical K9 specialist with their elite Hostage Rescue Team. He is still working with dogs to this day.
#2 was also a Marine Corps officer who became a pilot and served overseas. He just recently retired after flying for FedEx for several years.
#3, yep, also a Marine Corps officer who became a pilot. He also served overseas, flew with the Blue Angels, and retired as a Colonel before going to work as a pilot at FedEx. Like how I just sorta flew right past the whole ‘flew with the Blue Angels’ thing? *smirk*
#4 (that’s me … see below)
#5 all on his own, faced and defeated his demons and has been clean and sober for decades. The internal strength of character it took to accomplish this cannot be downplayed. What's incredible is his positive outlook. After everything he's been through, he is still one of the most upbeat, generous people I know. He would do anything to help a friend, even if it meant personal inconvenience or discomfort.
#6 (the “baby”), married his high school sweetheart when they were practically infants; 18 and 19 years old! After more than thirty years, they are still happily married and have two beautiful grown daughters who are thriving. He is loved and respected by everyone who knows him and he is an awesome, hilarious guy.
If you've read my previous blogs, or follow me on social media, you probably already know about me. I'm a wife, mom, mother-in-law, grandma, sister, an author, and a stage actress. I like to think I'm a good friend, and my husband seems to be pretty happy with me. After all, we did just celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Even still, to me, this all seemed a bit tame and ordinary when compared to my brothers.
But here's the funny thing; they all seem pretty dang proud of me, too.
I'm reminded that I have created an entire brand, written three full-length books, with numerous others to come, designed and maintain my own website and newsletter. I have also navigated the rugged terrain of self-publishing, and on August 21st, will be a published author. So, yeah, I guess I'm pretty happy with where I am and where I'm headed.
Which just goes to show you; it's all about perspective. One person's Eh, it was nothin', is another person's Holy crap, you did that?! Therefore, I encourage you to embrace your own, Holy crap, you did that—whatever it might be—and shout it to the world.