Friday, January 29, 2010

My sister, my friend

I have four sisters - all born before me ...

and today's blog is dedicated to one of them. That's her above, hugging one of our other sisters recently when we all said goodbye. Because it's her birthday, I want to reminisce a little and share some things I remember about growing up with Brenda...

Sis, you've always had a giving, gentle heart. You've always been willing to listen to anyone who needed to open up their heart and pour out their deepest thoughts and feelings. You made it easy for them, because you sat quietly and listened. I think that's why our family and friends back then lovingly referred to you as a "young Ann Landers." Fellow students, siblings and even casual acquaintances were drawn to your sweet spirit.

I came along seven years later than you did, sis, and to me you were quite "grown up." I loved watching my sisters get ready to go places -- school, church, anywhere. A touch of makeup, a bit of cologne, lots of hairspray (!) and the finished result was great. Other folks often said you looked like one of the Lennon Sisters. You also had a good singing voice and still do. It's a rich alto I love to hear.

Remember how we gals sang around the piano at home?

We also sang at church on occasion and loved singing in the car on those long trips in the old Pontiac. Wasn't it amazing how well we sisters harmonized? I've heard family members are better able to harmonize, and in our case that was true.

I guess we knew one another well enough, too, that we could almost predict when the other would take off in a direction and we'd fill in what was needed. All these years later, we can still take up where we left off in that way, it seems.

There are other memories of our growing up years -- I remember the shoulder-length "flip" in your hair and how it bounced when you walked. Back then, Breck shampoo was a big deal, and so was the dab of Suave cream Mom taught us to use for de-tangling. I always thought your hair was so pretty, and you kept it in up-to-date styles.

I can also remember some of the outfits you wore -- soft sweaters and pleated skirts, A-lines and straight skirts as they came in vogue. There are a couple shirt-waist dresses I recall, too.

When family photos were taken, you are the only one who really looked comfortable in front of the camera. :-) Just like a model, you'd stand with a hand on one hip, one foot pointed toward the camera, a certain tilt to your head and that beautiful, mega-watt smile.

Another memory - my earliest of you - is the way you'd comfort me at night when I was afraid. My overactive imagination got me in trouble sometimes (or a scary show on the neighbor's TV), I tended to dream a lot. Sometimes those dreams were full-blown nightmares and I was horrified of being kidnapped or worse.

I would be shaking in my p.j.'s and scared to move out from under the covers ... but so desperate for someone to comfort me.

That's when I'd dash around the corner to your room and climb in bed beside you. I don't ever remember being rejected; in fact, you cuddled and comforted me. That was probably a huge interruption to your sleep on school nights -- but you were always there for me. Thanks, Bren, for being my bad-dream chaser!

Today I still count you as one of my very best friends in the world. Since we live about 5 hours apart, it's hard to find time together. Aren't you glad for telephones, cell phones, emails and Facebook! On those occasions we do get to be together ...

... it's as if we've slipped back into a conversation we started months ago.

Sometimes we even finish each other's sentences or have the very same thoughts about a situation. Still so very much alike, aren't we?

When we're together, the clock seems to be daring us to waste just one minute, but we don't. During the day we'll laugh and talk and work together on meals or take a walk or run to the store to do some quick shopping.

At night, when the rest of the household winds down, we sit up waaay too late (!) sharing our hopes and dreams and catching up on the latest events in our lives. That's because we know our time is short and it's going to be a long time before we get this opportunity again.

I am so thankful to have you as a sister, Brenda, and I still feel free to open my heart to you. So many times over the past 20 years or so, you've picked up part of my burden and shared the load. In that way, you haven't changed at all; you are still the Ann Landers in our family circle -- only a much better version, in my opinon.

Remember, as children, how our big family would kneel to pray by the old couch each night? We don't get down on our knees now, because the knees aren't so young anymore, but we still hold hands during prayer before slipping off to our own beds.

I love you bunches and want to tell you how precious you are to me, Bren. I am so thankful God placed you in my family so I could get to know you in a special sister-kind-of-way. Here's hoping the year ahead is one of your best yet!

Happy birthday to my sweet sis.
P.S. To me, you get more beautiful (inside and out) as the years go by.


  1. Happy birthday, Brenda. What a beautiful sister you have, Nan. What a poignant post. So precious to have a sister. I have one in the UK and I live in North Africa *sigh* praise God for e-mail and Skype. Bless you my beautiful friend. I love your blog. Jo

  2. Wow, Sis. I had no idea when you told me you had sent my a link that it would be so beautiful, meaningful, and...humbling. I love you so much. You, my dear sister, have a beautiful heart of gold. I have admired you for years. I love being your sister, listening to your heart, and learning from you. Thank you for this beautiful tribute, though I feel very undeserving.

    Your sister twice,

  3. Happy Birthday Brenda. :-) I have three sisters myself, so I totally understand... my sisters are like an extension of myself. :-)


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