Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Happy Birthday, Jessica!
Today is my sister’s birthday, so I thought I’d post something in her honor today. My sister’s name is Jessica and she turns 33 years old today. She is an amazing person in so many ways and I thought it would be fun to take a walk down “memory lane” and remember some of the funny and memorable events in our lives together!
For much of our life, Jess and I were thought to be twins by many people. When we were little, our mom would dress us in similar clothes and fix our hair the same. People everywhere would get us mixed up. Even as a little child, I would answer to Melissa or Jessica. Even today, when someone hollers out “Jessica”, I usually turn my head. Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to tell which one of us is Melissa and which one of us is Jessica – but I don’t mind being mistaken for her!
I have so many memories with my sister. Memories of playing as children, fighting as children, getting in trouble together as children, or getting spanked together as children! Jess was always a good big sister, for the most part. I have one specific memory of Jessica “tending my wounds” after one of my many bicycle accidents. I wasn’t exactly the most graceful of children and I seemed to wreck my bike more often than the average kid. Most of the time, Mom or Dad were home to take care of my cuts and bruises. But one day, I did a nose-dive into the road by our house and skinned up my knee really good. When I came home crying, Jessica was the only one in the house. She proceeded to clean my knee, which was pretty bad, as I screamed and hollered for her to stop. She quietly explained that it had to be done so I didn’t get an infection – but still I cried! Jess always took good care of me!
There’s another unforgettable memory that resulted in me and my sister both being grounded for the entire rest of the summer. In my parent’s defense, we deserved it! We played often with one of the neighborhood girls and ran around town together during the summer while our parents were at work. One day, we got this bright idea to go taunt a dog that was penned up. Now, this was no ordinary dog and it was a very stupid thing to do. But we were kids and thought it would be fun, plus we knew we wouldn’t get caught! Well, we walked right up to the pen of this Doberman pincher dog and started taunting it. This dog was so mean that the owners had signs up all over their yard saying, “Do Not Trespass” and “Beware: Dog”. But, we knew we were safe because it was penned up – not smart. Well, the more we taunted it, the more riled up the dog got. As we were leaving (and laughing hysterically), the owner came out and yelled, “Don’t go anywhere! I’m calling your parents!” Now, my hometown is small enough that everyone knows our parents, and we knew that we were going to be in BIG trouble. So, Mom comes home from work and says, “Wait til your Dad gets home.” Oh no, we’ve really done it now. Well, we got grounded for the entire rest of the summer. That meant we couldn’t even leave the yard! How boring! So, we laugh now but at the time, it was a pretty crazy thing to do!
Jessica LOVES to go shopping. She is a Black Friday fanatic and a yard sale addict! I don’t know how many times she talked me into yard saling with her on Saturday mornings in Willisville or Steeleville or Percy or anywhere there was a yard sale! She convinved me TWO times to go Black Friday shopping with her and I hated it – but had fun with her! She made the comment this year that she wished I was there with her on Black Friday, even though I would have complained the whole time -- very true!
There were tons of times that Jess would call me on Saturdays and ask if I wanted to go to Fairview Heights to Target with her. My first question was always, “How much do you need to get?” Usually the answer was, “Oh, I need to return a shirt or grab a few things from the grocery section. Nothing much. We won’t be gone long.” As soon as I got in her car and we had left my apartment (and I was stuck), she would usually inform me that there were a few other stops she had to make. Our quick shopping trip almost always turned into an all-day shopping event, which she loved and I didn’t! I love her company but not shopping!
My sister has given me two wonderful nephews and one wonderful niece that I love very much. I miss them everyday I don’t see them and I so wished that we were closer so I could spend more time with them.
Derek is 12 now (Wow) and plays basketball and cross country.
Calleigh is 3 ½ now and quite the “Girly-Girl”.
Austin is almost 16 months old and he is working on walking.
I miss so many milestones in their lives by being away – but it does make our visits lots of fun when we’re home with them!
When Jess and Mike got engaged, she asked me to be her Maid of Honor. I said that I would do this under one condition – I would NOT wear a pink dress! At the time, I could not stand wearing pink and it’s her favorite color. She promised not to pick pink. Instead, she picked the absolute most uncomfortable dresses you could ever imagine and made us wear them instead! But I love her anyway!
When Shawn and I got engaged, we planned our wedding in just over 4 months so it was pretty busy. Shawn and I decided to pick 2 songs to dance to on our wedding day. He had already picked one and asked me to pick the other. So, Jess and I drove home from one of those “short” shopping trips and listened to every song on her phone (over 400, if I remember right), trying to find the perfect song. When we got to Sparta, we still had a bunch of songs to listen to so she drove around Sparta with me for about an hour until we found the perfect song. We knew it was perfect when both of us got teary-eyed!
Since Shawn and I moved to Iowa, I talk to Jess almost every single day. I miss her so much and she is very faithful about calling often. That first year and a half away from her was extremely hard. Every day is hard to be away from her but that time was especially hard. After Austin was born, he was in the hospital for 6 months and then unable to leave their house for about 3 more months. So during that time, she wasn’t able to come visit us in Iowa at all! She got to come for Shawn’s ordination weekend in February last year but there were about 15 other people that weekend from Illinois. A great weekend, but not for “sister time”. So, we both struggled with her “being stuck” and unable to come visit us. Well, little did I know that she and Shawn were planning quite the surprise! Shawn and I came home one day in May from a doctor’s appointment and found her and the 3 kids hiding behind the kitchen counter. When I walked in the door, she told me that they were here for the whole week! A whole week – that was great! I still think about those days sometimes as I walk around our big house – it was so fun to have her and the kids here to fill it up! Only the very best of sisters would drive over 400 miles by herself with 3 children – two of them under the age of 3 – all for the love of sisters!
There are so many memories that I have with my sister that I can’t even begin to record them all here. I would need to write a book to fully explain the impact that she has had on my life. But one thing is for sure – she is the BEST sister I could have ever had and I am so very thankful to have her in my life!
I love you, Jess! Happy Birthday!