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Counting My Blessings

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

We just spent 10 glorious days at my parents’ beautiful new house in Scottsdale where it was in the 80s and sunny every day, along with my brother’s family (three kids, ages 12, 10 and 7)—all 10 of us under one roof! Shockingly, everyone was well behaved. There were no arguments—not even any bickering. Even the kids got along!

And the best part: There was almost no talk of infertility, other than my outrage over the controversy for new plans for a fertility clinic in Naperville, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago (voting among its City Council members took place Tuesday night). But other than that, I was able to totally vacate all the stresses in our lives right now—starting a big new job this week (which is going great but it's an adjustment); my husband's pending back surgery next week; and figuring out our next steps in the fertility process. Everything was on hold for 10 days to enjoy quality time with each other.

My brother and sister-in-law’s children are three of the sweetest kids you’ll ever meet. I swear this isn't me talking as their aunt. They actually like each other; they look out for each other; they genuinely seem to enjoy each other’s company; I’d go so far as to say, whether they’ll admit it or not, they’re each other’s best friends. And despite the age difference, Preston fits right in. When the four of them are together, it’s like they’re all siblings. These three kids are so in love with my little guy—even Koby, who’ll be 13 this year, can’t get enough of him. And the feeling is more than mutual.

Preston learned to swim on this trip—like really swim on his own, thanks to his daddy (see the video and more pics here, the cuteness will kill you!)—and Koby, Joe and Emma (aka “KobyJoeEmma!”) were there for the milestone. Preston also played mini golf on his own for the first time with “KobyJoeEmma!” He went on carnival rides with “KobyJoeEmma!” Had his first s'more with “KobyJoeEmma!” The kids woke up early every morning at the crack of dawn; and went to sleep late every night, snuggled up with each other, playing on our respective iPads and iPhones while trying to wind down (I know, I know…we’re a multi-media family). It was actually very cute and, yes, Preston knows his way around an iPad better than I do. 

Since Emma, 7, is the youngest of her siblings, there were times she couldn’t do what her older brothers were doing, like hiking up Camelback Mountain. So Jay and I took her with us to see The Lorax one day with Preston. They've gotten very close lately; their age gap is starting to be less of a gap at the stage they're in right now (they watch the same cartoons and play “tea party” together—yep, my son likes having pink and purple tea parties). Emma also went to the zoo with us while her brothers went for another hike with their parents; I don’t think Preston and Emma ever left each other’s side the entire trip.

As we were getting popcorn and candy for the kids at the theater, I turned to Jay: “This is what it would be like if Preston had a sister.” Yes, I know, siblings don’t always get along this well (hey, I have an older brother who’s four years my senior and still treats me like I’m 7), but these kids are special. Do they pick on each other? Of course. Do they fight? Obviously. Does Emma get left out at times being the youngest and only girl? Sure. But she also cuddles up with her two older brothers at night, while Koby, 12, rubs her feet, and Joe, 10, lets her snuggle with him. See the pictures for evidence.

Preston was always sandwiched somewhere in the middle of the three of them, with Emma’s arms wrapped around him like he was her little teddy bear. He's the world's best cuddler, too, and loves the attention from his cousins. He was always the last to go to sleep at night, yet always the first to wake up.

“KobyJoeEmma! Pancakes and eggs!"

It was total chaos at times (try getting 10 people out of the house for dinner on time) but it was the best family vacation I can remember ever having. I only hope Preston is lucky enough to have sibling(s) like his cousins one day, but I’m feeling very blessed for the family I already have.

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