Did you know that today, April 10th, is National Sibling Day? (If not and you have a brother or sister you better go tell them how much you love them!) I’ve shared a photo on Facebook expressing how much I love my siblings, but it’s not often enough that I get to gush over them. I am extremely fortunate to have three (plus two extras!) of the best siblings in this world, and I want the world to know it. So what better day than today to let them and everyone else know how much they mean to me?
Our family of four children was probably a bit different from most families with many siblings growing up. My two brothers, Kevin and Derek, are actually my half brothers and are 15+ years older than me, but since they have been in my life since the second I was born, I count them as my 100% brothers. Then there’s me. Then there’s my little sister, Sarah, who is 21 months younger than I. My brothers were teenagers when I was born, so you can imagine the fun they had trying to figure out what to do with a baby sister, being too cool to change my dirty diapers and picking on me, and my sister and I were so close in age that we would go from best friends to hating one another overnight.
Despite all of that, we all love each other unconditionally, support each other in every way, and life wouldn’t be the same without the Ainsworth Foursome. Which is why I want to share five of my fondest memories with and of each of them today :).
We’ll start from oldest to youngest.
Kevin (a.k.a. Bubba): The oldest of us all.
1. I had him wrapped around my finger from the beginning.
I don’t necessarily remember it (because I was obviously too young), but the pictures and stories of him napping with me and reading to me make up for that. I think I knew he was going to make an excellent big brother from that moment on.
2. Hating every guy I brought around and threatening all of my boyfriends.
I know it’s the natural thing for a big brother to do, but he could be just plain mean! Looking back now, though, I appreciate it. And it just makes Jimmy that much more special because Bubba liked him from the second he met him. Score!
3. Babysitting his girls.
I always enjoyed babysitting his two daughters, Hope and Olivia, because a) they’re the best nieces ever, and b) he and his wife always ordered the best pizza! I know it’s strange, but for some reason that’s a memory that always sticks out.
4. Teaching me about wine.
He works in the wine and spirits industry and has learned a LOT about wines over the past years. I love drinking wine with him and learning about everything that went into making that bottle, how to properly and what to drink and pair it. #WineSnobSiblingsForTheWin
5. The Bubba Look.
Apparently when I was little he used to make this face where he’d cock one side of his nose upward (I don’t really know how to explain it) and it would always make me laugh. It stuck with him and has since been called “The Bubba Look.” His kids learned to do it, Derek and Sarah’s kids all know it, and we all did it at my wedding. It will go down in Bubba history, for sure. (Maybe we should patent it?)
Derek: The youngest of the brothers.
1. Bandwagon fan.
Derek has got to be the biggest bandwagon fan that ever was. He started out as a Bulldog fan. When they stopped winning, he hopped the fence and became a Gator fan. Gators had a poor record that next year, so back to UGA he went. Trying to guess which team he’ll show up wearing to our next family event has become a running joke in our family. Who’s next, Derek? Duke? (For the record, it was UGA as of December 2014.)
2. Making out with my babysitters.
I remember him sneaking off with my babysitters many times. Where they went, I have no clue and don’t want to. There’s one girl I remember distinctly, but I won’t name names!
3. Scary jobs.
For some reason Derek always had scary jobs. He was a volunteer firefighter for a while, and I remember him going out during one of the summer’s bad forest fires and being scared he was going to catch on fire. Morbid, huh? He also used to drive semi-trucks and was in an accident once. No more scary jobs, Derek!
4. Shaved eyebrows.
I don’t remember who did it or why, but I do remember him coming home with no eyebrows one time. Or maybe it was just one missing? Either way, I believe someone did it to him in his sleep, and for some reason I want to say it was Bubba and their stepbrother Ross that did it. Mean! But it was pretty hilarious.
5. Dancing at my wedding.
First of all, I don’t think I have ever seen Derek dance in my LIFE. But at my wedding, he was tearing up the dance floor and boogying the night away – voluntarily! I have never seen him that happy and having that much fun in his life.
Sarah: The baby of the group.
1. Her bowl cut.
I’m sorry for this one, sis. For some reason I thought it was a good idea to give Sarah an at-home hair cut one sunny afternoon. I came out of the bathroom with scissors and a chunk of her hair in my hand and proudly said, “Look what I did, Mommy!” Mom freaked, rand to the bathroom to find Sarah’s long, curly blond hair in the toilet and had a meltdown. At least I cleaned up after myself? (Don’t worry. Sarah got revenge by yanking out a chunk of my hair in middle school when we got in a fight.)
2. Almost drowning.
We were walking on the dock at my Aunt Kathy’s house in Jacksonville and all of a sudden Sarah fell off the side and sunk straight into the muddy marsh. By some miracle, my dad had cat-like reflexes in that moment and reached down to grab her hand just in time before it was submerged into the mud like the rest of her body. Seriously, the only thing sticking out of that muddy water was her hand. He pulled her out like the Hulk would rip off a car door. Poor Sarah was covered in mud and crying like crazy. I was only around six years old, but it was the scariest moment of my life. (I’m pretty sure this picture was taken that same day, too.)
2. Sneaking into each others bedrooms to listen to music, read, watch TV and play dolls.
After we’d go to bed in our separate rooms, we would completely disobey Mom and Dad’s rules and cross the hallway when they weren’t looking. Shame on us for not listening to them, but some of our best bonding moments were made in those times! (And Barbie got some of her best makeovers.)
3. She punched a girl on the bus for talking crap about me.
I’m not even kidding! Leave it to my little sister to beat up a girl for bullying me on the bus. Don’t mess with me, folks. I have my little sister on my side!
4. Her speech at my wedding.
I cry just thinking about it. Sarah hates public speaking, doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, and wasn’t prepared to make a speech at all. And after I completely humiliated myself and embarrassed her in my MOH speech at her wedding, I expected she was going to do the same to me. Boy, was I wrong. Seeing her on that stage looking so beautiful and saying the sweetest things I have ever heard was by far one of the most meaningful moments of my life. (See for yourself, but have a tissue handy!)
There’s no way I can wrap up this post without acknowledging my amazing sisters-in-law as well! My brother Bubba married the woman of his dreams in 1996, and she has been a big part pf our family ever since. Tricia, you’ve always been like a sister to me, and I love you to pieces.
Tricia: sister-in-law, Bubba’s wife.
– Her love of games.
Tricia LOVES games and is super competitive when it comes to them. Like, we can’t allow her and Bubba to be on the same team kind of competitive! It’s amazing. Thanks to her we always play board games at family gatherings and it never makes for a bad time.
– Her wedding day.
I was a junior bridesmaid in her wedding, and I just remember her looking absolutely beautiful that day. My whole life I wished for a wedding that was as much fun as theirs was, and I wanted to look as beautiful and happy as I remember her looking.
On 12-13-14, I gained a NEW sister-in-law! Amanda is every girl’s dream SIL and I am SO fortunate to call her mine. She’s amazing in every way possible, and I can’t imagine life without her now.
Amanda: Jimmy’s older sister.
– The first time I met her was unforgettable and undoubtedly my favorite memory of her.
Jimmy and I had flown in to Chicago and his parents picked us up from the airport. Amanda was running late and finally jumped in the car with all of us for a family road trip to Wisconsin. She was hungover from partying too much the night before, her hair was soaking wet, and she was dying of thirst. I was sipping on a mint chocolate tea from Argo Tea that I’d picked up in the airport and first thing she said was something along the lines of, “Hi Blakeley, so nice to meet you! Can I have a sip of whatever that is? I am super hungover and I’m dying.” I knew I liked her from that moment on!
Just like all of the other girls, Amanda completely rocked my bachelorette party in Nashville. She had all of the girls create a scrapbook page and compiled it in a surprise scrapbook for me. She was sick as a dog one night and stayed out until 2 a.m. like a champ. She also gave me donut PJs at my lingerie shower because she couldn’t stand the thought of me wearing lingerie around her baby bro! Amazing.
– She introduced me to a chocolate malt shake.
How I lived my entire life without trying one of those is beyond me, but thank goodness for A. That’s our go-to treat in Door County that we split at least twice during our week-long trip every year.
– Also, this picture.
I can’t forget a quick shout-out to Carrie, our guardian angel. My brother Derek lost his wife to cancer a few years ago and it’s been rough for all of us, especially his family. I have many fond memories of her, but my favorites are the two legacies she left behind: my nephews Michael and Landon. We miss you, Carrie!
See – Told you I’m lucky. I love you all beyond words and am so happy to call you my siblings. Thanks for making me the luckiest sister in the world!
Happy Sibling Day to all! <3