Happy International Siblings day! Apparently today is the day for siblings. While I think it’s important to think of every body as your brother/sister, there’s a special place in my heart for my immediate family.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to hear the inner critic on a lot more occasions than during childhood innocence. “What have you done with your life” is a question I found myself asking on a frequent interval.
“Words and love” is usually the answer; I’ve written a lot of words and have loved a lot of people.
If I were to see my departed father, I’d feel confident telling him that each of his children have made the world a better place; each in their own unique way. Perhaps he’s reading this. Perhaps not. I’d like to think so.
In honor of the day, I wanted to write a short blurb about/for each of the siblings I have.
Of all of the siblings in the Plaat family, Steve has a very special place in my heart. Steve and I rediscovered our brotherly connection nearly two years ago, when he invited me to move to California.
What I’ve come to appreciate about Steve is that he’s willing to do the work and lean in to whatever life seems to throw at him. I’ve learned many years ago not to argue with Steve, as he tends to be correct on most things that pop up in our discussions.
Since moving to California, it’s been incredible to experience adult life with Steve. It’s rare to experience adult life with your siblings, as it’s status-quo to part ways after reaching adulthood. I’m deeply grateful to be here with Steve.
Steve provides tough (correct) love – he knows exactly how to deliver a message that corrects, with love, any problems I’ve managed to bring to the table.
Lydia’s the sibling I think of most when I’m sitting at home on the patio, as I know there’s a stark contrast between my serene environment and her child-rearing home.
When Lydia first told me she was getting married, I remember being incredibly sad to see things change. During those years, Lydia and I were extremely close, and it was really hard for me to accept that things would change/evolve.
As the years went by, I saw her change and grow into a beautiful, strong, and fashionable (she dresses really well) woman.
She also happened to marry a man named Tyler almost 10 years ago. Together, they’ve created a beautiful life together and are starting to raise a beautiful family.
While we have major lifestyle differences (Ohio/California) Lydia is the one in our family that ‘brings me home’ whenever I think about settling down and following their lead of starting a family.
There will always be a part of me that wonders ‘what could have been’ between Mark and me. Both of our lives seemed to find dramatic intersections while we lived together in college; he joined the Navy, I left for California.
Some of my favorite times with Mark were spent at Gypsy Cafe in Columbus, OH, a hookah lounge. We’d spend many afternoons there puffing away at $5 hookahs during happy hour.
Very few people share laughs the way we do. When Mark and I find ourselves laughing, it’s fairly common for us to laugh to the point of tears with splitting pains in our stomach from the roars of laughter that leave our mouth.
Of anybody in the world, Mark (Travis is a close second) is the one I’d want to stand by me if I ever found myself in a dangerous situation. I’ve always felt safe with Mark, even though he’s the ‘little’ brother.
There’s a part of me that will always feel sad, because I feel as if we never realized all of the adventures we set out to accomplish with each other.
Julia is my little angel. Watching her grow up has been difficult to do, as many of the years have been spent far away from home.
Julia grew up in a very different world than most of her siblings, as most of her upbringing occurred without our father.
I’m most proud of her for finding her passions and pursuing them. She’s a brilliant artist, aesthetician, and spirit. She’s done a really good job of carving out her own niche in our family and she never stops surprising me with her intelligence; she’s brilliant, clever, and highly in touch with her emotions.
Julia watches the world around her very intently. For 18 years of age, she responds with the maturity of an adult in many situations.
I’m very, very proud of her.
Last, but certainly not least, is Joshua. Joshua has a very special place in my heart, as he’s the youngest in our family.
In many ways, I see Josh being the most similar to our father of anybody in our family. He’s very savvy when it comes to technology.
What sets Joshua apart is his heart. He has a really big heart for his family, friends, and people he doesn’t know yet. He’s also incredibly talented and creative. He’s quite the photographer!
It’s been most difficult to find myself on the other side of the country as Joshua grows up. I still wrestle with this.
At the head of many households is a mother who somehow manages to keep it all together. In the Plaat family, it’s Roberta Plaat.
Truth be told, I don’t know how she does it. Every time I see her, she seems to come back with an attitude and determination that can’t be dulled by even the worst of days. Mom has challenged me with her joy, tenacity, and love for God. Her faith has brightened the lives of countless individuals.
It’s been a really beautiful thing to be a part of such a wonderful family. Even though none of us kids are perfect, we happen to really love each other and always come back to each other, no matter how difficult the fight or strenuous the situation.
As parents, one of the greatest sacrifices you can make is the choice to have children. It has been humbling to be a part of the Plaat family. We all love, respect, and honor each other – even when we don’t.
I lack words, Dad. Words to tell you how much all of us miss you being around. Yet, each of us carries one piece of your reflection. And I know that somewhere you are there, watching over each and every one of your children.
To Steven, Lydia (and Tyler), Mark, Julia, Joshua, Roberta, and Willem Plaat – thank you for being you. You’re the ebb and flow of my heart, even during moments it doesn’t seem like it, you’re the life-force that keeps me going, day after day.
I love you more than words can say.