I was looking through our huge Rubbermaid bin of pictures the other day for photos of Courtney as a child.
I don’t scrapbook. I didn’t do baby books for my kids. But I’ve got tons of pictures of all of them.
Not really. The further they descended in the birth order, the pictures became less frequent. By number six–Debbie–we were lucky to have a camera that worked. Or the presence of mind to think about taking pictures. Because she looked so much like her older sister, Courtney, we tried to pass off Court’s pictures as Deb’s when we were in a bind.
Calloused parent that I am.
Everyone’s pictures are stacked together in clever disarray in this big ole’ green bin.
The problem that arises from such a creative filing system is not being able to get to the things you know you have in a brief amount of time.
My kids all have this clonish thing going for them–those genes run deep. But Courtney and Debbie looked so much alike growing up that I had to consider the ages of others in the picture to figure out which was which.
That’s not one of those proud mama statements. That’s sad confusion.
With six kids, the confused part was a given.
In many ways, these two are very alike. Infectious laughs. Quick wits. Great senses of humor. Positive. Thoughtful. Very people oriented.
They’re also incredibly different. Courtney is more of an extrovert, gravitating towards people and groups, never knowing a stranger. A people gatherer.
Debbie is more introverted and enjoys deep relationships with fewer people, fewer groups. A people encourager.
But they’ve always seemed to be there for each other.
I would never think to confuse them now. Nobody would.
But when Courtney asked me to send pictures of her when she was younger, I inadvertently included a few of Debbie. Genuinely believing they were Courtney.
I feel like I need to apologize to my children.
Not because I didn’t catch the difference between the two in the pictures. That’s a mistake. And a very old mind.
I don’t want either of them–any of my children–to think I don’t celebrate their uniquenesses. The wonderful things that make them each different, even though they’re family. That the differences are good.
I don’t want them to think that I don’t think about them as individuals. That I don’t know them for who they really are.
I want to be known. I want others to know the real me. My heart-felt self that often feels crushed when people don’t really know me.
God knows me perfectly. And He thinks about me constantly.
“How precious are Your thought about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!” Psalm 139:17-18a
I love every unique member of my family and see them as gifts to be treasured. But I don’t think about them every moment of every day.
I can’t even conceive of being on the heart and mind of God always. Never to be forgotten.
But I am.
Never to be confused with anyone else.
Are you able to celebrate your unique self?