You’re Who Again?

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.unnamedunnamed-1

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.

unnamedunnamed-1Seven years separate them. When they were younger, that was a lot.

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?









4 responses to “You’re Who Again?”

  1. Penny Gulbranson Avatar
    Penny Gulbranson

    I remember that tub! And pawing through it in CA to find pics for Courtney in kindergarten and substituting some of Heather’s baby pics b/c your kids truly looked like clones. And knowing I could get away with it if it were a solo pic. 🙂
    I so appreciate your heart in this. You, my friend, have nothing to fear re: your kids thinking you don’t know and celebrate them individually. I know few moms who know their kids’ unique personalities, strengths, weaknesses and love languages so well. And I think they each know it as well.
    What truly amazes me is that you can not only do it exceedingly well with your kids AND GRANDKIDS, but with your huge friend list, too – having so many people in your life and being used of God in countless ways to individually encourage, challenge, mentor and coach them all on such a personal level. You are amazing at being able to get to a person’s heart by connecting on such an intimate level. You can make me feel on a heart level like I am the only person who matters to you when we talk, even though on an intellectual level I know you have a gazillion people in your life. And oh how I love you so dearly for that!


    1. Well, my sweet friend, I recognize the dramatic effects you’ve had on my kids–you’ve been with us through so many things. Encouraged their hearts when times were rough. Even taught Heather some questionable practices. (Screeches of some sort??) But what I value most is that you’re someone who truly does know me. My heart. My real self. No expectations. So grateful for that. And for you. You’re in my life for the long haul–hope Joe’s happy with that!


  2. For somebody old as me, world active like me and without brothers or sisters; just keeping track of your family and their names – except Heather and Isley, Tiffany and Ramsay – is mind-blowing. [Lucky I remember yours and John’s.] Now, Bless her, is Debbie going to Puerto Rico with AIA to help start a sports ministry there! Your family is GREAT Dayle and John! You say it for me: “I can’t even conceive of being on the heart and mind of God always. Never to be forgotten.” BUT I AM!!!


    1. You love me well, Lois. When do you and I get to get together?


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