I’ve been thinking. A lot. I haven’t  posted anything in a couple of months. A few posts ago, I got a lot of mixed reactions…I was unfriended on Facebook,then blocked, then was told someone asked other people to unfriend me.  I was emailed by someone who thought I was talking about them(I wasn’t), and I was thanked by a few people who felt the same way I was feeling.  In the past couple years it’s not that I’ve become apathetic about writing posts – I just only want to write about things when I really feel called to write about them.

And guess what? It’s not about Mascara.  I have fallen deeply in love with a mascara and have been hopelessly devoted to it for over a year, but I don’t want to talk about that this post. This post is all about my sisters…

Last Monday was a bad day. I woke up cranky, and I had this lingering sadness right under every layer of skin. Grace had been up for a few days with a fever over 103, I sat with her wrapped in her fleece Dora Blanket on our front porch in the middle of the night, the rain falling, the wind chimes swaying together…ting ting ting…as my daughter’s breathing regulated after being so shallow with a bad bout of croup. I missed my Mom.

And I missed my sisters.

I am sad that Grace will never know her sister.  I am sad that I don’t know the future or if we’ll have any more kids and that Grace may never know what it’s like to have one.

There is nothing like having a sister.

Side note: I don’t want this to take away at all from my relationship with my brother, Jeremy, who Micah is named after.  Jeremy and my relationship growing up was tumultuous to put it mildly – we fought about everything, but as adults we are very close.  For two years we talked at least once a day, we cried for months as he struggled in a relationship and when he and his wife called me to tell me they were pregnant with their beautiful daughter, my niece Olivia, I screamed and was as excited as if she was mine.  Which she would be if they’d stop being so selfish and let her live with me.  But really, my brother was meant to be a Dad, his entire life has been leading up to raising children.  He has never been happier.   I love him.

And I know that Grace will have that.  Her brother’s adore her, and as annoyed as they get with her, they take care of her and protect her.  She will always be their Grace, and I know that no girl will be good enough for them.  I can already tell that Grace will have her say in all their girlfriends and will be just like me and be the first one to need to know about anything in their lives.

But this is about my sisters.

There is a song by Sugarland called “Shine the Light,” that really sums up how I feel about them.  It’s funny because I’m actually not good at conveying these things to them over the phone or in person.  A lot, most times, I come off as too blunt or all jumbled, and then I make a joke.  But for some reason when I’m writing all the awkwardness of me goes away.  The lyrics to this song seem so appropriate today…so my prayer is that they read this and see how loved they are.

“When you walk in the edge of those dark and lonely woods, and when I ask “How was your Day?” Your answer “Not so good,” And when nothing seems to be working quite the way it should…I will shine the light, I will hold you in my arms until everything’s alright. I will shine the light. ” 

Beautiful Missy, You are such an amazing person.  From the day I was born you were the person I wanted to be just like. My entire life, you have been my constant friend, the most reliable person I know. You are also the strongest.  You have survived great losses, 2 deployments away from your soldier, and continue to strive to find yourself as a mother, wife, friend, and writer.  You are an amazing writer, and I believe in you, and cannot wait to buy your book at some overpriced bookstore and tell everyone there “My sister wrote this… And she dedicated it to me.”     Thank you for being there during my darkest moments and letting me grieve.  Thank you for loving me and staying by my side an entire 13.1 miles when you knew you could go faster, but you stayed with me because you love me.  I love you so much. You will never get a rejection letter from me.  And I believe you are more than just an amazing writer, or wife, or mother, or sister, I believe you are a strong-amazing, steadfast person who looks the most beautiful when you’re laughing. I love your laugh. I love our time together.  Thank you for being my sister and my friend.

“When the skies up above you fill with gray and stormy clouds.  And there’s not a single face you know in the maddening crowd.  When you know that you will make your way, but you just can’t see how…I will shine the light. I will hold you in my arms until everything’s alright. I will shine the light.”

Lovely Erin, Two years ago, you and your girls picked up everything and started a new life in Seattle.  When our Maya was born 12 years ago, I watched you, my little sister, a senior in high school become a Mother and I stood there holding a goofy “Welcome”  sign as you brought my beautiful god-daughter into this world. And you transformed right there.  There were many hard years, but I hope you know I am so proud of you.  You are such a good Mom, and though you were young, you have and are continuing to raise amazing young women.  You were a single Mom when drug addiction could not give you a co-parent.  You stood up for yourself after years of domestic violence – And you started over.  You left everything behind.  And God shined his light on you.  The boy who loved you when you were in 7th grade, who you stood up for, now stands next to you.  And as you both prepare to bring a much-loved 5th baby girl into your world together, you have a job you rock at, you have a family who adores you, and I hope you know I am always here.  Thank you for holding my hand when we were kids and I was scared at night, for holding my hand when I called DYP on the phone the first time, and thank you for letting me hold your hand over the years when you didn’t want me to. You are beautiful inside and out, and hilarious.  Thank you for being my sister and my friend.

“And when your worries, they won’t let you sleep and rob you of your days. And you’ve looked in all directions but you still can’t find your way. Or when you just need someone to remind you that it’s all gonna be okay.  I will shine the light…When you’re staring at your demons waiting in your darkest night… I will shine the light.”

Precious Hannah, you are my other smile.  I love that even when you were a little girl our smiles matched.  As you’ve gotten older, taller, I still have that.  It’s so funny because when people meet you they’ll think of how easy going you are, a little quiet, always up for fun, but you are so much deeper than that.  There is the part of you that stays hidden, deeply buried, a part where you are hard on yourself, a place only those who have observed you year after year, know about you.  You are such a good, beautiful person.  I love that you still will play with the kids, and you let Grace hang on you, because it doesn’t seem so long ago that I would push you on the swings and we’d sing “Simon and Garfunkel” and you’d ask if you reached your feet up high enough if you could touch the sky. Last year we sat in the hospital room the day after Papa John’s surgery and he asked us to sing for him.  You sang in Spanish. I sang a church hymn.  But his joy in his weakness over our voices in the dark room is a memory I will never forget.  I will always remind you on the darkest day about the goodness you exude and how someday you will bring good to so many people.  I love you my beautiful Hannah. Thank you for being my sister and my friend.

Sometimes we jump into the great unknown. Some roads we’re on, we’ll have to walk alone. But waiting there in the end is a heart that calls you friend…that’s me.  Clapping the loudest… welcoming you home.So when you heart is heavy like a stone, From carrying its load.  And you look into the mirror and see someone you don’t know. Or when the shadows are closing in on you like a hand across your throat.  I will shine the light. I will shine the light.  I will shine the light.  I will hold you in my arms until everything’s all right. I will shine the light.

My Kaitlin, not only are you my god-daughter, you are Grace’s godmother.  Grace says she was born in your heart, I feel the same way about you.  For so many years I slept in the same bed with you and Hannah, feeling the need to protect you. But in fact, you both protected me.  You birth changed me, and I am so grateful for every breath of life you have taken.  If only you could see yourself the way the world sees you; worthy of greatness.  I’ve watched you sleep,  and I’ve watched you laugh. We’ve cried for hours on the phone, and I’ve watched you pray.  Every darkness that has threatened you, we have fought together…but I want you to know as lonely this walk seems sometimes– you are not alone.  Your faith has carried you.  At the end of every race you make in life, I will be there.  You were born in my heart and I cannot imagine life without you.  You are the embodiment of beautiful.  You are worthy. The shadows will never win.  Thank you for praying with me every night and for being my sister and friend.

“I will shine the light…When you’ve given into your fear.  When you’ve lost your will to fight. Let me know what I can do. Let me try to make it right. And I will shine the light. I will shine the light.”

And to all my soul sisters:

 My police sisters who understand what it’s really like. To my best friends who take me as I am, and still hug me goodbye.  To the friends who have run with me, and ran for me, who see the most authentic me – and Koya, I can’t imagine running as far with anyone else. For my friend Renee who loves my kids so much, and is so good to me.  To all my “Mom” friends who show up, who see me in sweats and see me try and cry,  who know I will always be there to say the wrong thing but still laugh with me.  To the godmothers of my children…thank you for praying for my kids — thank you for praying with me. For my REACH girls who we still pray for each other, may you see the ways God is giving you grace. For my friends since childhood, when did we become grown ups?  For the women of faith I know.  For all the women of 4 plus children, you get it.   For all the women I’ve met over the years that have suffered the loss of a child who instantly become my soul sister. For Amy the bravest most forgiving person I know. And for my kindred,you have lost and loved more deeply than any person I know,  you mean so much to me. To my sister in-laws and mother in law, who love crazy me. And to all my saint sisters, who pray for me in heaven and take care of Grace’s sister…thank you.

I don’t know if my Mom realized when she had all of us girls how strong our bond would become. But  I am so grateful she raised us,so well, so loving,  just like my beloved Grandma Nor raised her to love and adore her own sister.

 On my worst days I am always grateful for my sisters, and I will always plead to God for their happiness.  That’s the brightest light I’m able to shine. I pray for you.  I show up.   Because the best things in life, really truly, include the word Sister.

I love you. Always,