I am totally Team Radford. If you have spent any time with me (reading my blog, seeing my blurbs in your news feed, hanging out at PTA meetings or birthday parties), you know I am crazy about my husband and kids.
What you might not know is that before there was Team Radford, there was the Hayes Gang. We were a motley crew of six, rolling through both Kansas Cities in various minivans. Mom and Dad rode up front. The four of us rotated positions in the back seats. Weekends usually included us cruising one end of 39th street or the other. On really good weekends we’d cruise both, starting at Grandma Freda’s house on the Missouri side, and ending up at the very end of 39th street on the Kansas side, at Grandma Francella’s.
I got the benefit of having a big brother. We went through a bit of a rough spell in the early 90s (courtesy of me stealing all his rayon shirts. He even had that one that looked like the infamous Gordon Gartrell. It was one of my favorites), but in my mind he will always be a superhero, showing up right on time, every time. He stopped many a fight, saved me from a multitude of belt lashings, and generally saved the day. There was that one time he threw me up in the air and I landed on my neck, but I have forgiven him for that.
I also have a little brother. He’s been my best friend since the day mom and dad brought him home from the hospital. He’s the smartest person I know, and he’s one of the few people who can talk me down when I reach the height of my crazy. I’d swear our first real separation was when we went off to separate colleges. I’m still not sure how I survived 4 years of life with him living a whole 3.5 hours away.
I have a baby sister who is off the chain. She is smart, funny, and the most resilient person on the planet. She’s also as pretty as can be. Sure, she hated my guts for a minute, but I’ll blame that on having to share everything she ever had with her moody, bossy, know-it-all, of a big sister. To this day, I have clothes in my closet she bought for herself. If I ever go to jail, it will be because she told me somebody hurt her. (She purposely does not tell me such things.)
When the four of us get together, the laughs and the drinks are aplenty. We inevitably make fun of Mom, talk about how crazy Dad was, and remember what life was like before we each had little families of our own. Big Brother lives thousands of miles away in England but he still shows up whenever we need him. Little Brother is still one of the first people I call to snap me out of my foolishness, and Little Sister is next on the list. She makes me laugh away the tears.
They were my first family. They are why I put my family first.
(The featured picture does include the entire Hayes Gang. Bonus points if you can point out whose who, amongst all the cousins, aunts, and uncles. This picture was taken at Grandma Francella’s house, the Kansas side of 39th St.)