There are 5 people in my family.

Each square within this tile represents a family member of mine. It goes from largest to smallest, smallest being the youngest.

I used to think that my brothers starting families of their own would mean the end of ours. It made me sad to think about, and although I could acknowledge that it would be a happy thing, the selfish cons outweighed the pros. The first Christmas my brother spent with my sister in law’s family felt empty. We had a good enough time, but something was missing, him, and my sister in law, which was part of it already. Now with a few years of experience, and a very fair system of alternating Thanksgiving and Christmas between families, I feel clearer about this evolution of our families.

And this system helped, but really the final shift to me comprehending the true joy of my brothers and them having their own lives was when my two nephews were born—one for each brother. I realized my fears were nothing to worry about; having their own families just changed the roles we have within it. Ultimately it’s not even just their own family but an addition to ours. It’s time for them to be parents of their own—I can tell they’re meant for it. I see their relationships and the pairings that work so well together. The kids are lucky to have them as parents, and they’ll grow up to be the cutest little men ever.

Technically, in our Anguera-Labadie family there were five, but really my family, my close family is nine now. We’ve almost doubled, and with every addition it’s been made better.