Yesterday my youngest brother left - he's moving to Montana. I'm so proud of him for making the leap and I'm really happy for him because I believe it will be a great change for him, but oh, how we'll miss him! He's such a ray of sunshine in all of our lives - silly, sweet, smart, strong (and smelly, I feel compelled to add, since he's our favorite sibling to pick on - lucky him!).
As the oldest of nine kids, I can't really imagine how it feels to be the youngest but I'm guessing it's hard to fully come into your own as an adult when you're surrounded by people who think of you as the babiest baby of the family. Micah's always been very much himself and he's certainly grown up into a wonderful and independent young man but I imagine living over a thousand miles away from most of his family will prove a truly defining experience in his life.
I am, however, incredibly thankful that he'll have some family nearby. He'll be living in the same city as my sister Naomi, who set off on her own journey years ago. As the most middle of all our family's middle children, she knows a thing or two about getting away to find yourself. Over and over she's proven herself to be strong, fearless and independent, but I'm guessing she won't really mind having her younger brother around for awhile.
Both Naomi and Micah thrive in wide open spaces and rugged conditions. They love to be outside, surrounded by the glories of the natural world, fishing, hiking, climbing, camping, whatever. When Micah went to visit Naomi this winter, none of us were surprised when he announced (almost immediately upon arriving home) that he would soon be heading back out to Montana on a more permanent basis.
I wish him all the best and I'm comforted that he and Naomi will be able to be there for one another. I hope she's prepared to make fun of him as much as we all do so that he won't be too homesick! I know we will all miss him terribly, as we do Naomi and our brother Seth, who lives in California. With eight siblings you would think it wouldn't be that noticeable when one or three of us are missing, but we all feel those empty spaces.
Our family get-togethers are usually noisy, crowded and chaotic but there almost always comes a point when one of us says disconsolately to another, "I miss Naomi and Seth," everyone in earshot quietly agrees, and we stand around unhappily for a bit before discussing the last time we saw them or dreaming up plans to go visit. Now we've got another sibling to add to the "I miss..." list.
I think the last time we were all in the same place at the same time was about four years ago. Hopefully we can manage that epic feat again soon. It almost happened this March, when we celebrated Micah's 21st birthday, but unfortunately, Naomi wasn't able to get the time away from work to join us. We managed to throw a pretty decent party anyway though. Here's some pictures of our celebration of the fact that Micah can finally join the rest of us when we go out.