Monday, July 21, 2008

Happy 40th Birthday to My Sister!

Today is my sister's 40th birthday. This picture was taken four years ago at my sister’s wedding. We need to get more pictures taken of us together. This is the only one I could find last night!
(Note: I hate to have my picture taken. I'm always the one in the family pictures watching the squirrels in the nut trees when the camera flashes!)

Forty years ago, God blessed me with one the most precious gifts I have ever received. He sent me a baby sister. It was the summer that I was seven years old and wanted nothing more than to see this life that my mother was carrying inside of her. Mom and I had talked about what she was going to name the baby. She asked me what I thought of Suzanne, Susanna, or Susan. She finally decided on Susan Vernell. Mom’s best friend was named Vernell but as Susan is very quick to point out, nobody ever called her by Vernell. They called her Bunny! There was never a discussion of boy names. It was as if Mom knew it was going to be a girl. In 1968, you never knew what the baby was going to be before it was born!

After she was born, I was never jealous of her getting all the attention. She was the center of my attention and everyone else who came to visit. After all, I was her big sister and that was all the mattered to me. She was a beautiful baby with dark hair and brown eyes. Since I had blonde hair and blue eyes, I thought she was absolutely gorgeous! Yes - I did tell her she was adopted because she didn't look like me!

She had colic and would cry at night with her stomach hurting. Mom and I would get in the car, with Susan on a pillow in my lap, and ride down the old gravel roads with all the windows down until she dozed off after finally burping or passing gas. We would ease in the driveway, park the car, carefully open the doors, and very quietly slip her in her crib. Then we would go back to car roll up the windows and close the car doors. We did this night after night – at all hours of the night…..

I will never forget when she about four years old and was playing in the back of the truck. She bumped her head and had a huge “goose egg” in the middle of her forehead. As the bump went down, she developed two black eyes and looked horrible – like there was something really bad wrong with her. When we went to Florida the next week, people would look at our family and shake their heads and whisper – “Bless her heart!” - as if she was abused or mentally handicapped!

We have been through a lot over the past forty years. We stood by each other the night we said good bye to our brother and watched a part of each of us leave this world. As our mother struggles with her memory due to Alzheimer’s, I am so thankful for the memories we have of those years and to have the strength of my sister beside me now. I never would have dreamed forty years ago that precious little baby girl would have grown up to be my best friend, a mother, a wife, but most of all – the best sister anybody could hope to for! I consider myself very lucky and blessed.

Happy Birthday Susan! I love you even more - 40 years later!



Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me cry. Like I really needed ANOTHER reason. That picture is soo funny-I looked at it again after I read what you wrote & busted out laughing! You HATE having your picture made & why do I look soo stiff? Anyway- that was a very good day. Who would have known after that night in Cracker Barrel with me having a melt down that on Nov.6th,2004 life would be soo good. Who would have thought that 3 years later on Aug. 15th,2007 I would have the most beatiful baby girl in the world. Thanks for always being there.
I Love You!

Lesa said...

That's what sisters are for - to make each other cry! At least we understand each others tears!
You look so stiff because everything you had was stuffed into that dress and hoisted up!
We never thought you would ever get married much less have a baby. Yes - she is a beautiful baby - just like you were many, many years ago!
Love Ya!

Sammy said...

What a beautiful tribute to your sister, Lesa. This is just lovely and I'm sure made her cry buckets when she read it.

Funny, my older sister used to tell me I was adopted too! Does someone teach older sisters to do this, or is it just instinct?? :-)

Beautiful post.