Some things never change
August 10, 2023
Almost three decades ago, my three older siblings and I sat down on our carpeted basement steps in the house I grew up in and posed for a picture.
Last week, we recreated that picture.
Two of my siblings now live in neighboring states, so getting all four of us together at the same time doesn't always happen, and when it does it's often fast and furious and we're so focused on enjoying each other's company that we forget to take any pictures together.
But recently that old photo of us came to my attention again, and I thought of the pictures I've seen on the internet where families recreate photos from when they were young. Knowing my siblings were coming to visit soon, I got the idea of recreating the photo of us. I just imagined us finding some stairs to sit on in the same arrangement. But it was my brother Ryan who had the idea that we needed to try to recreate as many details as we could, like our outfits, and that's where it started getting really fun.
My brother's outfits were fairly easy, even if my brother Dan had to roll up his jeans and get some matchbox cars to be holding. For my sister Nicole, we made a Goodwill trip to try to find a colorful 90s sweater. While we couldn't find one close to the greatness of her multicolored original, we managed to find one that matched the vibes. For me, I wasn't sure where to find grey sweatpants with pink flowers-until my Grandma volunteered a pair of her pajama pants that worked perfectly. I tucked the pajama pants into some white socks, put my hair up in a scrunchy, and was good to go.
My siblings and I laughed so hard at each other and ourselves as we got into our outfits, squished together on the stairs at my Dan's house, and worked hard to imitate our past selves' poses and expressions.
We laughed even harder once we saw the side-by-side result.
The picture is comedic, to say the least, but I realized it's also oddly profound looking at where we are and where we started.
I was so little in the picture, I can't even remember that time. But looking at it, I remember the love and support of my siblings as they surrounded me, both on those stairs and throughout my life. I remember my childhood full of playing with them, fighting with them, being bossed around and picked on by them, and being protected, guided, and loved by them.
I think of everything that's happened since then in all of our lives, through periods of being together and apart.
Looking at the pictures, the changes are obvious. We've grown from children to adults. Nicole doesn't wear glasses anymore, and I do (although I took them off for the photo). My hair is shorter and Ryan's is longer. Dan looks about the same. (Kidding, bro. Love you.)
But we've also changed in who we are. Our tiny smiling selves could never have imagined who we would be in 30 years. I look back at the baby I was and am both happy and sad for her, knowing everything she has ahead, all the joys and heartbreaks. I feel the same for each of my smiling, innocent siblings. Life is hard, and life changes us. But that's ok, as one of my favorite quotes from Doctor Who reminds me:
"We all change, when you think about it. We're all different people, all through our lives. And that's okay, that's good. You've gotta keep moving. So long as you remember all the people that you used to be."
I remember the child I used to be, and I love and honor who she was and who I am now.
But at the same time, recreating this photo reminded me of how, in so many ways, my siblings and I are still those same goofy kids. And those goofy kids contained all the foundations of who we are now.
My sister is still fabulous, fashionable (seriously though), fun, smart, and a strong leader. My brother Dan is still curious, creative, always holding onto something he's interested in, always learning new things, and always ready to help however he can. My brother Ryan is still gentle, kind, thoughtful, insightful, and ready to make people laugh and make people feel seen and valued.
I still have that pure happiness and love in me and around me. And I'm so thankful I still have my siblings by my side.