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TGIF!! Every Friday brings me this much closer to the trip of my dreams (I’ll fill you in later) and you probably have an idea of that sort of excitement, but you still have no idea, because YEEEEEEEE!!!! Like, I can’t even think or talk about it without getting the bubble guts, ohmygeez!!!! But even more exciting is that I get to go with one of my sisters, and that just makes it, you know? I wish all three of my sisters could go, that would just be like the best vacation ever. And if my brother could go? Hot damn, we’d have us a legit ASJCA party.


Growing up, like most kids do, my siblings and I fought tooth and nail. As the oldest, I was often left in charge while our parents worked. Being nine years older than the youngest, I was real bossy about it, too. I’m sure they couldn’t wait until I moved out – then before you know it, I did. I remember the freedom, the righteousness of being an adult and the feeling of total independence from this group of people who had a hold on my whole life. It was exhilarating to be one person instead of one of seven. To own my schedule, to not share my makeup, or my clothing, my anything! To go back and visit on MY terms, when I wanted and for however long I decided. I felt like I was finally the boss of myself after so many years at the mercy of my brother and sisters.

And then, time settled things, as it does. Routines developed, separate lives formed. It didn’t take long before I missed them: my sisters suddenly more loving and brother sweeter than in my memories of  our time living together. They started calling me. I began taking my brother to lunch every week. I made an extra effort to attend family events and carve out time for quick visits. Looking back, I’ll never be sure how much time I actually spent with them – I was going to college and working full time – life back then is a stereotypical blur. Of course I remember one sister on the phone in tears  to come get her after a fight with our parents.  How could I forget the call to pick up another sister from an unauthorized party? I’ll always remember what my brother said to me during a particularly painful lunch when our parents were divorcing. And I will absolutely never forget the feeling of rage when I found out one of my sisters was being bullied on the bus after school. Pick on MY sister, I dare you.

This is ASJCA: the initials of me and my siblings, in birth order.  But more than that, an exclusive club for just the five of us. A tattoo permanently inked on each of us, in distinct spots and different fonts to demonstrate our uniqueness, our independence, but above all, our fierce loyalty to one another. So that no matter how much time or space or life seperates us, we are always together.

ASJCA sibling tattoo

A: the oldest, the the big sister.

ASJCA sibling tattoo

S: thoughtful, kind and calm.

ASJCA Sibling Tattoo

J: insightful, questioning, fiercely loving.

ASJCA Sibling Tattoos

C: all boy in a sea of girls.  

ASJCA Sibling Tattoo

A: the hard working, sympathetic baby. 

I could never describe just how amazing these people are.  I don’t say that just because I am their biggest fan.  I say that because they are truly good, kind people who would give the shirt off their back to help those they love, to stand up for their sisters and brother. I know other families are close, and I don’t claim we are anything extraordinary.  But what we have, our love for one another, feels like it is the most unique bond on the planet.

Do you have sisters or brothers? Do you feel the same sort of bond? What about tattoos? Do they have a special meaning?


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