My teens hate this picture, so don't tell them I posted it for all the world to see. I love this picture because they are both laughing hysterically. Even though Reagan is just living next door, we don't see her everyday. In this picture, Jake, Lizzie and I had just returned from the grocery store and brought Reagan some stuff. We dropped it off and she ran out to get it. You should see Lizzie when she sees her sister - she loves her very much. I think I expected that - that this transition would be hard for Lizzie. Jake is the one that surprises me. He LOVES his "big" sister and doesn't mind showing it. She has really been his best friend all his life. It really is sweet, don't you think?
Back to the big smiles - I LOVE seeing those smiles because our family went through some really rough years. When I became physically ill, I also suffered with some major emotional stuff. I had never been anxious or depressed before, but I was both - in a severe way! Some days my husband would pry my hands off of his shirt and run out the door to head to work. Those days I would just curl up on the couch in a fetal position and cry. I was a mess. See those two smiling faces in the picture? I can assure you that those faces were heavy with fear, worry, and concern those days. They carried so much more at their young ages than they should have had to. I know that they turned out fine, do not harbor any more anger about it (due to years of therapy) and families do just come together and get through stuff when they have to. I also know I didn't choose it or desire to be a burden to them. All that said, I don't know that all the guilt will ever totally go away. I just regret they were forced to grow up so fast, forced to take on the responsibility for their baby sister and their mother at times.
So, that is why a picture of these two laughing so hard they look silly will always be a beautiful picture for me. Smile and laugh Reagan and Jake - you deserve it and so much more!