I wonder if there is a special formula God uses when he puts families together. Probably not. When moms and dads get together to make babies, it’s most likely a random DNA crap shoot as to how the resulting family is going to look/be. Like the grass on the other side of the proverbial fence, or the kind of hair you are born with, it’s a given that even the people who have the most Norman Rockwell-esque family on the planet, might at one time or another want a different one.
Trimmed down to the barest definition, a family is just a group of people who live together. Although we all hope for companionship and support and happy memories none of these are requirements for getting through life. Some degree of love, however, has got to be a basic ingredient for a family’s survival.
Love is what happens when a mom sees her new born baby for the first time. It is not necessarily the same feeling she has when that child uses a bright red crayon to paint a picture on white living room walls; or comes home with a safety pin sticking out of her eyebrow.
Love is what happens when a Dad sees his father’s eyes twinkling on the face of his newborn son. It may not be what he feels when that child gets clocked going 80mph in a 50mph zone the first day he drives by himself.
Love is what two parents think is going to be enough to see them through the sibling rivalry every time a new baby joins the family. Love is probably not what is going through the older ones’ minds as successive siblings arrive on the scene.
Yet, through it all, the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, the joys and the frustrations, God in his wisdom gave us families to share our lives with. Dysfunctional as they can be at times, families are the fragile, and often tenuous, thread that binds mankind together.
Having said all that, I have spent many a dollar and many an hour on a psychiatrist’s couch trying to make sense of the family I was given – or should I say, the one that got me. There’s a lot to be learned from in-depth analysis. There’s a lot to be gained from searching one’s soul. There’s also a point at which one needs to make the best of any given situation and that’s where I am today. Oh, I still yearn for the fantasy family of my dreams, but I’m also grateful that I have a family to bitch about – some people don’t have that.
One of the best things about my family is my big sister, DaDa. There are a number of years between us so we can’t really be twins, but we are like two peas in the same pod... there's no denying our alikeness in looks and temperment. I’m lucky to have her in my life. Taking a cue from another blogger who’s writing I admire and like to emulate [http://antijen.blogspot.com], here are 63 reasons I love my sister:
1. Her birthday is on Valentine’s Day. How cool is that! She is the personification of love.
2. She reminds me of my Grandmother.
3. She LOVES cats and takes very good care of them, even if they live outside and she has to leave food in the bushes.
4. She rescues dogs.
5. She does water aerobics on a regular basis.
6. She has good work ethics, even when she no longer works.
7. She wrote her Master’s thesis on “A Laboratory Evaluation of the Diagnosis and Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections in Patients at VAMC Ambulatory Care Facility with Recommendations for Specimen Management.” It’s over 80 pages long. Who knew there was so much to say about UTI’s!
8. She’s a great mom.
9. She’s an even better grandmother.
10. She makes the best Christmas stockings ever.
11. She loves Christmas.
12. When you go to her house you always feel comfortable. Even if you have to sleep on a futon or wait in line for a shower. It’s just fun to be there.
13. She’s a good listener.
14. She’s the perfect aunt for my kids.
15. She never forgets a birthday.
16. She has the biggest collection of plaid flannel that I ever saw.
17. She followed her heart to Japan and gave the resulting 20 year marriage her best shot.
18. She likes movies.
19. She never hesitates to get in the car and drive somewhere, even if she doesn’t know where she’s going. She never seems to worry about getting lost.
20. She is very brave.
21. She is a better life support system than a ventilator.
22. We have the same hair.
23. We climbed into the Grand Canyon together.
24. Even though we are both grown up, she’ll always be “DaDa” to me.
25. We share a love of quilts.
26. She sends tulip bouquets and Teddy Bear-grams.
27. She voted for George McGovern when everyone else was voting for Richard Nixon.
28. She stands up for what she believes in.
29. She roots for the underdog.
30. She knew her way around LA.
31. She is very friendly.
32. She doesn’t use the “F” word but doesn’t flinch when I do.
33. She likes iced tea loaded with ice.
34. She’s a good sport.
35. She likes to hike, and follows the “Take only pictures and leave only footprints” rule.
36. She likes clocks.
37. She can hang closet shelves like a pro.
38. She forgives.
39. Sometimes when I need to talk to her, she calls out of the blue, like she’s psychic or something.
40. She let me spend summers with her when I was an angst-ridden teenager.
41. When an earthquake hit Northridge and the hospital she worked in was all torn up, she still went to work.
42. She has all the negatives from all the pictures she’s ever taken. Sometimes that seems a little over the top, but I know if I want a copy of a picture taken in 1973, she can get it for me … and she will.
43. She has a hard time letting go of things like Madame Alexander dolls, Time magazines and coffee mugs.
44. We share secrets (until I forget them!)
45. She grows lavender and daffodils.
46. She’ll ride a roller coaster with you even when it has a 360 degree loop in it.
47. If her car breaks down, she doesn’t get all excited like I would. She just waits on the side of the road and waits for it to cool off.
48. She visits once a year even if there are no airline specials.
49. She is the keeper of our family’s genealogy.
50. She bought my daughter a pink panther cup to make her feel better after I spanked her in a store for doing something to her brother.
51. She convinced me to let my son fly to Hawaii by himself when he was only 10 years old.
52. When her husband died, she didn’t break into 10 million pieces. I think her heart was broken, but it didn’t show on the outside.
53. She’s loyal, trustworthy and true blue. She is the best cheerleader a person could have but doesn’t seek the limelight for herself.
54. She taught my daughter how to crochet.
55. She has the biggest Nativity scene collection of anyone I know. This may be because I buy her a new set every year! I can’t wait for a Christmas when we are together and every nativity is set up.
56. She donates to charity just because I ask her to.
57. She takes care of people, even if she doesn’t know them very well. One time she witnessed an accident and held a man’s hand until the ambulance arrived.
58. She gives books as gifts.
59. She never smoked or did drugs.
60.She will rise to any occasion, even if it is driving across Seattle to Ikea to pick up 100 pounds of shelving before the store closes.
61. She once drove 50 miles to find my cat that had jumped out of the car window along Highway 95. I thought the cat was a goner, but my sister, God love her, went right to the place where I last saw the Houdini-like feline making a mad dash for the tall grass on the side of the road, called her name and the death defying cat came to her like she'd just been out for a Sunday stroll not trying to make a daring escape. Now that’s what I call a miracle. It’s like she is a cat’s guardian angel.
62.We swam with the dolphins in Hawaii.
63.When my mom died, she encouraged me give the eulogy but she had a back up speech ready in case I couldn’t do it.
It's true what Desmond Tutu says, "You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." I love you, Linda Lou. Happy Birthday!
* Author Unknown