When I was 12 my little brother joined my family. He was six. Or at least this is how I remember the numbers. I also remember that he took my seat at the dinner table, and I didn't like that. I hated it actually.
I was ending fifth grade, entering sixth. He had spent a few weekends with my family before then, with my parents and three older siblings and I, but this was permanent. My Mom was his teacher, he needed a safer home.
I remember my position as the youngest in the family, which was part of my young identity, was uprooted. I didn't like that either. I remember hating my parents, thinking they were the worst ever - especially my Mom - for replacing my role.
In hindsight, I see this all differently. I see that my Mom actually did something when she saw that a kid needed a safe home: She opened hers up.
I can see that my Dad did something significant, too. He opened up his heart to my Mom's crazy idea that indeed we had room for one more.
I can see that time did something as well. Time showed me why experiencing upheaval for the betterment of another human being - for the sake of that human being - is worth it. It's the way forward.
He and I have a special relationship. His fiance called me first when he crashed his motorcycle and was being airlifted to a hospital to (hopefully) save his life. I got to the hospital first, told him it was gonna be ok. Went everyday for months. He calls me when it's rough, calls me when it's good. He and I are the only redheads in the family, including the extended family of aunts and uncles and cousins, and people tell us all the time we look so much alike. We wink and laugh politely, no reason to clarify our bloodlines.
I can see that what he did was rage against odds. And what I did was learn that we are capable of giving up our seat at the table so that someone else can have a shot at a life.
This collection of pendants is called The Little Brother Collection, named for my little bro. For each one sold, $5 is donated to Together We Rise. Their mission is, in sum, to make life a little easier and the future a little more accessible, for kids in foster care. I am so here for that kind of work.