Props to the Pumpkin

I'm from a close-knit family. You don't hang out with me for too long without hearing a story about a family member. You don't come to one of my get-togethers without meeting one or two of my siblings. Heck, you can barely sit in my classroom for two years without having the youngest one pop in for no reason, or have my mom interrupt class with a phone call for that matter.

It's something I often take for granted. The fact that I consider my sisters my friends, my brothers my protectors, my mom and dad people I want to hang out with. We vacation together and don't kill each other. We fight with each other and scream and yell about politics and religion and still hug goodbye at the end of the night. (well...sometimes you just wait a couple of days and then you talk to them again...)

Then, an event like we attended last night comes along and you get a glimpse into how special our relationship really is. My sister, the pumpkin, was awarded The Spartan Award at Roger Bacon High School last night. There are 7 alumns of RB in the immediately family, so it was a bit of a Homecoming to walk into the old gym last night in honor of the pumpkin. There were 4 awards presented, each with their own criteria and specifications and it was a very nice evening with a mass (hey, we're Catholic) a social hour (yep - beer and wine served right there in a high school gym) a dinner and the awards presentation.

Each award recipient was informed of their honor in early summer and were asked to find someone to present it to them. The pumpkin asked me to do so right away, and without hesitation I said yes. Almost as quickly, I asked her if she thought one of our brothers might not be a better choice - not bc I didn't want to do it, but bc he's got a bit of a callous reputation around RB and can be amazingly sweet and sentimental and I thought the dichotomy might make for a nice presentation. The conversation then turned to how cute it would be to have the sister who is 20+ years younger than the rest of us present the award, and then she mentioned the other brother doing the presentation. It soon became evident that the pumpkin wasn't going to be able to choose and that we were all going to be presenting the award.

It was awesome...all five of us standing up there at the podium talking about our sister and how great she is and how much she deserved the award...without a shred of sibling rivalry. Mom was in tears when we were finished as was the pumpkin - who un had to then recover so that she could address the audience.

As a parent, one of my greatest hopes is that my two children's relationship with each other grows from mere tolerance of the other's existence in the home to the type of friendship I'm lucky to share with my siblings. I know it was that, more than what we said about the pumpkin, that brought the tears to mom's eyes.

How proud she was as person after person stopped her at the end of the evening to say, "What a great family" "They are all so adorable..." "You've done a great job with your kids" My mom was absolutely beaming. It was great to see, and made for a really special evening.

The pumpkin is a pretty amazing person. I love the heck out of that kid. The two of us have very little (if any) animosity between us. We're alike in so many ways, and polar opposites in others. She's a great teacher, dept chair, mom, and coach. Four state volleyball champs under her tiny belt already and on her way to number five this year...just made it to the final four in the state tournament yesterday evening just before the presentation, in fact... so...props to the pumpkin. She deserves it.

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