HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRIS!
The flashback photo for today is of my parents and my older sister, Chris. Tomorrow is Chris’ birthday, and it seemed fitting to offer a few thoughts on the woman who has been there every single day of my life! Despite all the years of arguing to the contrary, I have to admit it is no easy task to be the first-born child – especially if you are lucky enough to have a gaggle of younger siblings. Chris took her role as eldest seriously, caring for us, teaching us, scolding us, and loving us. And she continues to be there for us. When my niece, Zoe was born with some complications, who did my youngest brother Matt turn to for advice? When I just want to hear the voice of someone who will help me feel “normal” (whether I am sick or just tired), Chris is the person I call.
I love this particular photo of Chris, face squeezed between our parents, looking a little unsure about whether this is a good thing. Its a look I’ve seen on her face throughout our lives – she for sure has an idea how this photo could be better, she’s just too young to direct it! And even though we all tease her mercilessly about her need to control situations, we would, in truth, be lost without her planning and problem-solving skills. At the graduation of one of my nephews, a woman from Chris’ church said, “So, you’re Jeni! Wow, I bet it was tough for you growing up with Chris! She must have been a little on the bossy side!” Wow, someone was finally affirming my childhood pain. But as I looked around me, at the joy and pleasure on the faces of my sister’s friends and family, at the smoothly run reception which allowed everyone to be relaxed and celebrate the occasion, I found myself irritated that this woman had the gall to criticize my sister. I told her, “Shut up and mind your own beeswax!” Not really. But I told her the truth, that I was thankful for every minute of it!