Guest Post by Linda Trimble
I love sharing stories about the men in my life, especially those who helped to shape who I am today. It is so unfortunate that many girls do not have this or have not been taught how to appreciate the men that God brings across their paths in life. We see the news stories of how men have violated or crossed boundaries that they shouldn’t have with the girls or women in their lives, and seldom hear of the treasure and gift it is to have good men (brothers, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, etc.) in your life.
I grew up in the home with seven siblings, a mom and dad. Five of my siblings were boys. I was the youngest girl. My older sisters were both married and gone by the time I was eight years old. Though the boys were also older, I remember more about them than the girls. Each of the boys all seemed so talented and gifted at many things. My oldest brother learned to cook early, so he became a chef. The next one was good with cars and trucks. He became an auto mechanic. The third oldest went into the military and became a proud soldier. The last two brothers were close in age and hung out together a lot and they were my immediate protectors.
As a little girl, I admired all of them, because they were my big brothers. Yet, I often felt alone and neglected. I bordered on low self-esteem growing up because I was so tiny and it seems everyone else was growing past me and filling out as a young lady should. I played a lot with my two youngest brothers, whether it was football, baseball, or cleaning out a field so we could play. I wanted to do whatever they did, either because I thought I could or should. Of course, when you have lots of boys around, that means you have “lots of boys” around. These boys were my brothers’ friends and I really took a liking to these older boys. They were all so cute to me, but none of them would reach out to me as I watched how they would seek out other girls in the community. This was not good for me, at the time. My brothers’ friends would not have conversations with me about girlfriend/boyfriend stuff. This is when I began to feel so undesirable, ugly and not wanted. I started to think something was wrong with me?
Being around the boys, all the time, limited my friendship with girls. When I was with my brothers, I always felt safe and secure. They would say things to me like “you are so smart, you can read better than us so read this for us;” and they would also say that I was their “pretty sister.” Although, I never felt like I was smart or pretty, I learned to work hard to achieve because I wanted to make them proud and I wanted to get outside with them to play. I felt lonely a lot of the time, especially when they would leave with their friends, but I never quite accepted the suggestions in my mind that I was nothing and unimportant in the world. Somewhere along the way I started developing the desire to really understand myself and especially why I could not get a boyfriend. Well, I had boyfriends later, but not my brothers’ friends. They had too much respect for my brothers to date or ask me out. I found out that they all considered me a little sister, and each had too much respect for me to even consider me for anything else other than their sister. This was major for me as I grew into my teen years, because all my friends had already had multiple boyfriends by this time and I had none, zero. This is when I borderlined on low self esteem because no one wanted to go out with me, so I thought. Though my parents were not there for me physically or emotionally, my brothers were there. By the time I got to junior high school, I realized my parents were both alcoholics.
These men in my life, my five brothers, became my father figures. They were actually sheltering me all along from the dangers of society. When I thought I could not get a boyfriend because I was ugly and undesirable, I know now– that was not it at all. The boys in my neighborhood, who were my brothers’ friends, were probably being bullied (by my brothers) into staying away from me (their little sister). I learned this later after I sat and talked with my brothers and their friends. They all wanted to date me, but they were forbidden by my brothers. I was tickled pink when I found this out!!! Of course, I was just too naïve to figure this out before in life.
I went on to finish high school and college. I also married the man of my dreams. He also is my encourager and protector. I made several observations as I grew up, and after going back to school to become a school counselor. I realized why I had achieved much more than all my siblings; and it was because of their sacrifice to protect me, to encourage me, and to always be there for me. My achievements are because of their constant motivation and attention to who I was, and more so, of what I was capable of becoming. I am forever grateful for each of them. I will always honor these men in my life, who became good men, good fathers, and cherished brothers, forever.