I remember way back in 2002 when my younger sister was in labor. She was not having an easy go of it and I was trying my best to not let out the fear I was feeling. I had this polaroid taped to the wall of the basement in which I was holed up trying to distract myself. There in my grad school art studio, I intended to make stuff until the phone rang. However when I walked by this picture, I noticed something I had never seen before. The look on my face that says, "Hey world check her out! Isn't she awesome? She's mine and mommy made her just for me." I couldn't hold the anxiety in anymore, I was scared and I cried real hard for her. The phone rang and when I picked it up she asked, "Hey Jenn, did you hear? It's a boy! How's it going? How did your critique go today?" All I could think was, "Wow, she had been metaphorically run over by a truck and now she is fine and asking me about my day." Just like that. Which is a perfect example of her strength and how she ushered me into being a Mom.
2001Twenty-two years later, she followed me across country to teach skiing and I felt pretty much the same way as I felt in the first picture, the proud big sister. Soon enough we were living there together with partners of our own and my new little nephew. That's when I started to learn from her. Her ways of being a Mom included radical ideas like using cloth diapers, breastfeeding her infant on-demand and co-sleeping. Our relationship hit a new level. I wanted to be like her.
2011Now that I got the chance to have my babies and hers is a tween, I'm learning even more. During another teary moment while visiting them in August, I realized my nephew is done with all the bathy toys and little kid stuff at my Mom's house. All he needs now is a basketball and his ipod. He's totally and completely not little anymore, which must mean that mine will soon not be little too. It shocked me into the now. I took one look at my nephew and saw the caring, sweet, active, intelligent young man who adores his two little cousins and I grabbed a basketball to shoot hoops with them. I vowed not to fear the tween years and beyond because I had proof in front of me that this kid is awesome.
Then, I thanked my sister for leading the way and showing me how to be an awesome Mom. It's been an amazing gift being your sister, Jo Ann. Happy Birthday! May your weekend be filled with gifts as incredible as the ones you have given me. I love you.