People have asked, “What’s it like growing up a Back?” I usually look at them like they are stupid because I haven’t experienced any other way of growing up… Often I just shrug, but, let me clue you in to what it is like growing up a Back.
I come from what is affectionately called “The Back Clan.” I love it, every bit of the chaos of it.
Let me explain it this way: if you only know me without my family, it would be natural to assume that many of my mannerisms, tendencies, convictions, humor, view of Christ and the world are very much “Krista” things… And then, if you meet one of the other members of my family, you would think “oh yeah, they’re definitely related.” And then, if you met the rest or a few more members, you would realize that I am actually totally a product of my environment. Every one of us have different personalities that are uniquely our own, but we definitely come from the same place.
My older brother and I were laughing not long about how much we are alike; how our foundations, mannerisms, and view of Christ and the world are ridiculously similar, but how we express all of those things entirely different. He and I are of course about as opposite as they come. That is, until you put my entire family together, and you realize we are like a grayscale; a slow blending… Or we are each a piece of the puzzle. When we are all put together, we make a great picture all filling our role.
There are now 13 of us total between my parents, three siblings and myself, my brothers’ two wives, one assimilated sibling, and four munchkins… and of course let’s not forget the four dogs and four cats between all of us.
Copious amounts of chaos and noise is pretty much the norm when we all get together.
We genuinely love being together and talking, joking, discussing, playing games or simply cuddling and watching a movie. We enjoy being friends and hanging out together. But, in the spirit of total honesty, there are also disagreements, arguments, and different perspectives on all kinds of things (especially between the siblings). Yet, we all come from the same foundation, the same bottom line of beliefs, and each one of us have a desire to serve Jesus whenever and however we can… And, to say we are all passionate would be a laughable understatement.
My siblings and I often joke about how the vast majority of our normal dinner conversations when we were growing up we considered mundane and normal, but other people have never heard, discussed or even considered them before. I mean, normal discussions for us have always and continue to vary from whatever Biblical topic is on our minds, to re-telling our favorite parts of movies and books, to talking about the meaning behind songs… We talked about our days, conversations we had, what we thought about things going on in the world, and our interpretations of things. We also ask a lot of questions. Come to think of it, there really aren’t any taboo topics, and we usually find a way to laugh and joke about most things. Really though, while we are in the midst of debating opposite sides, even though we get loud, we rarely get angry with one another. Annoyed? Definitely, but humor usually quickly finds its way back into the conversation, usually because someone (9 times out of ten, my little sister) makes a sarcastic comment or random observation that sends us all roaring in laughter.
Really, the entire atmosphere of our house is due to my parents, and because they have exposed us constantly to discussions about where, when, why, and how things in the Bible and world happened… and really for teaching us how to think.
If you know my family at all, you would also realize that an often forgotten part of the DNA of our family is the martial arts. We love it. While most people refer to us as “ninjas,” we really just enjoy learning how to protect those around us… and perfecting our skills on each other… Which, now that all of us siblings are older and much bigger, mom tends to try to corral our fighting and wrestling to where we can do the least amount of damage to the house…
But, when all is said and done, to this day, my siblings (and family) can make me laugh like no one else in the world… All for different reasons, and with different senses of humor, but I laugh all the time at one of them… Or, in the case of my brothers, they can make me laugh or cause my temper to explode unlike anyone else, and almost instantly… Yet, even still, as much as I hate to admit it, I go to them and my dad if I feel insecure and in need of protection…
My brothers (yup, even my baby brother who is six years younger) are also what I would classify them “stupid protective”… and jokingly (sorta) blame them for my still-singlehood 😉
But, if I boiled down the “secret” to our family it would be two things: Jesus and communication. We seek Jesus and push each other towards Him constantly, and we talk…. a lot. Whether we are happy, sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, confused or excited.. whatever the emotion, we talk, share, forgive, love and move on.
So, growing up a Back has been fabulous, and every other emotion out there. I love my family, but I also really enjoy being around them.