Radiant: We Loved Here

Hey all! Happy Wednesday! This "Radiant" series has been so wonderful, hasn't it? I am absolutely loving how very different and profound each story is. It is exactly how I imagined it to be. 

This week, Ashley from We Loved Here is sharing a beautiful story about her relationship with her little sister. I've gotten to know Ashley over the past couple of months through blogging and I love keeping up with her on her blog but especially on Twitter. She reminds me so much of my own sister in her courageousness and her willingness to be exactly who she is. 




I was barely a teenager when my second sister was born. She came into the world the first week of April and slept restlessly on warm summer nights in the months thereafter. My parents, though young, were tired. She wasn't sick, she didn't always need a diaper change, she wasn't always hungry, and she didn't want to be rocked. She did want to be up all hours of the night for no specific reason. Growing up in a house full of children (I was the oldest of six at this time, that would later grow to ten) I knew more about babies and child rearing than most parents themselves did and this behavior was new.

On weekends my mom and I would spend evenings together watching television shows or talking, unless she was on the phone with a friend. This changed when Rachel came along and went to bed in the evening, only to wake a few hours later. With my dad working non-stop I could always tell that it was wearing my mom down by the end of the week, and that at times she was missing having moments to chat with friends or just have some alone time once her little ones were down for the night. I adored my baby sister, but I did not adore her crying so I tried my best to help. At some point during that summer I started getting her out of her crib when she woke up early, usually some time before midnight, so my mom could have that time. I tried walking through our house with her, my dad's favorite trick, but felt bad when she fussed because it would disturb my other siblings. I tried rocking, which rarely worked. I even tried playing sometimes... but my mom discouraged that one since it just caused her to be wide awake. One night after trying everything I could think of I decided to wrap her up in a thin blanket and take her outside for a walk. 

My parents live at the end of their dead end street in a quiet neighborhood on the edge of town. Even if she wanted to cry the only people likely to hear her lived in the duplex across the street and they were usually up late anyway. Much to my surprise once we stepped out into the night air and I cradled her upright against my shoulder, where she could look around, she grew quiet. I made my way down the porch steps, down the sidewalk and driveway, and to the end of the street. The streetlight wasn't as bright at that distance and you could look out onto the field at the end of the road. The night was clear and the stars shone brightly in the sky; sounds of crickets and katydids echoed around us, and occasionally the deep croak of frogs in a nearby creek. Rachel loved it. At least, she enjoyed it. 


She would stay silent as I walked her up and down the street, from my parents' driveway to the end and back over and over again. I'm not sure what a four month old's visibility is but she always stared up at the night sky as if she were studying the stars. I would whisper to her about the constellations I knew, softly sing lullabies, tell her about our family, or if she was especially restless I would beg her to stop fussing (something I think most parents do at least once) until she fell sleep. Sometimes I would see my mother standing on the porch, just watching us. Occasionally she would walk out and meet us on the road, ask if I needed her to take the baby and I usually told her we were fine. Other times I could tell she really wanted to share in those peaceful moments and would hand Rachel over, then watch as she walked with her for a bit.


Rachel turns thirteen this April, the same age I was when she was a newborn. She has a sassy attitude and is more keen on teasing our four youngest siblings than comforting them. I don't love any of my siblings more than the other, and certainly don't favor the one with the attitude, but when she does act especially unnerving I can't help but think back on those summer nights I spent calming that little fuzzy haired baby. Her dark eyes used to shine so brightly as she gazed up at the stars. They grew heavy and tired as I whispered to her, finally closing as she drifted off to sleep. I would snuggle her closer, happy to have the special moments, and slowly make my way back into the house where I would put her back to bed and hope she would sleep until morning.


Tears, no? I loved the gentleness of this story and how I could picture each and every part. A beautiful portrait of family. Thank you Ashley!

For other stories in the Radiant series, check here:
Radiant with Antiquarian Miss
Radiant with Priceless Adventure

7 comments:

  1. wow! That was amazing. It made me tear up for sure! I am one of four and my sister is only three years younger so I never had THIS type of relationship with her.
    That's so awesome that even as a child herself, she could tell her mom was worn down and stepped in to help.
    Also, one of ten? wow!

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  2. Thanks again for this opportunity Emily!! I've loved all the posts in the Radiant series so far and I am so happy that you chose me to participate!

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  3. Ashley, this is such a beautiful written piece, and such a sweet memory of family love. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  4. That was beautiful. Thanks for sharing, Ashley!

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    1. Aww, thanks :) Happy to have been part of Emily's series and for all the positive feedback!

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  5. Lovely,well written story. It took me back to the days when my sister, 9 years younger than me, was a baby. It also brought back warm memories of my own babies including Em Arvizu. Soon my daughter Erin will make me a new grandma. Your piece is such a gentle, loving inspiration to anyone who has ever had the privilege of caring for an infant. Thanks, Ashley.

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