I've had a few posts about people, and I've had a couples posts all dedicated to one person. And today, on my sister's birthday, I decided I should blog about her. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
This is for sure going to count as a birthday present.
Many years ago, that 5-year age gap seemed like a lot. When I was starting kindergarden, she was almost in middle school. When I turned ten, she was learning to drive. (I still vividly remember the day she got her white Volkswagen bug and learned to drive stick shift, Heather [younger sister] came back crying because her neck hurt). When I was starting high school, she had already been out here at BYU (majoring in exercise science) for a year. When I graduated from high school, she was in grad school. And now, I'm sitting here at BYU at the end of my junior year and my first semester in my journalism program (where I started out a psychology major), and she has a masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and works as a licensed therapist in Arizona. Who knows how we ended up in our fields.
Mom, me, Heater, and Shannon at the Syracuse Zoo
When I was just getting to teenage age, I never realized that she would be moving out soon. I didn't realize that once she left for college, she would never really live at home again. I didn't realize Christmas break and summers wouldn't ever be enough. I didn't realize that she wouldn't be around everyday. I didn't realize how much I would cry when we dropped her off at her dorm, Taylor Hall at Helaman Halls, at BYU (I didn't realize how fast the years would fly by when it was my turn and I was walking into Chipman Hall). I didn't realize how close we actually were, and I didn't realize how much closer we could've been if I had known how life works. I didn't realize how much I would miss making episodes of "The Starlight Show," our talk show we invented and filmed...which reminds me, I really need to try to find those. I have to watch them now and see how ridiculous we were, and put them on DVD. I didn't realize how important my big sister was, is, to me.
Heather, me, David, and Shannon in Europe at a train station waiting for our parent to comeback with tickets.
No, this is not staged; it's completely candid. Our parents came back and found us like this.
Clearly we see who the intellects are :P
Now, 5 years is nothing. Now, 5 years is short. It's the 906; 2,043; and 2,150 miles that separated us when she was at BYU, and I was living in Washington, then Pennsylvania and New York that is long. Now, it's the 620 miles between Provo and Phoenix (yes, I just google mapped all this). Now, it's the full-time student status I have, and the full-times job(s) she has, and the church callings and social lives we both have.
|Heather and Shannon with Panzer|
But we are lucky to live in our day and age, where Facebook, cell phones, and emails take that distance^ and shortens it to a few keystrokes on a computer screen and a speed dial number. Shannon is the second person on my speed dial. She has been my second speed dial since I was in 8th grade, because hers was the first number I wanted in my phone. She's not the first, only because 'Voicemail' is automatically in the numero uno position. So we talk a lot. We continue to get closer. We've become best friends, and not just how siblings are best friends and know a lot about each other. But we've developed a relationship based off trust, respect, understanding, and love. And we will continue to get closer.
Shannon is one of the greatest and most exceptional people I know. Exceptional. I don't describe many people in my life as exceptional. There are only a handful, and she is one of the few. She is incredibly intelligent and kind. She makes me laugh and has a great laugh. She's a bit of spaz with the fam. She is is very professional at work though. She really likes to play Speed, Spoons, and other card games. She is tall, athletic, and beautiful–inside and out (sorry for the cliche, but it's true). Her facebook "About Me" section is two short sentences, but describes her perfectly: "I've been told I'm loud. I cry when I laugh." That totally sums up her personality. She is helpful and charitable. She is my role model. She works harder then most people I know; she is very disciplined. Her life has not been a breeze by any means. She's worked hard to be where she is. She was given a lot of responsibility growing up as the oldest child. And not until more recent years did I understand what all she did to step up and help take care of my family and the example she's been for three younger siblings; especially with my dad being deployed numerous times. She stepped up and helped raise us too. She's helped shape me into the person I am today along with my parents. I felt my own pressure and responsibility growing up, but she was the oldest. And I don't think she ever took that lightly. And she set the bar high, and I'm still trying to grab onto it. It's still a little out of my reach. I don't know how she did it...how she does it.
So now I look at her life. I look at all the things she's accomplished, all the things she's done, all the things she has, all she has planned, all that she is...and I can think of no one more deserving for everything she has and gets to do; I can think of no one more deserving for all the opportunities she has, all the fun things she does, all the friends, and loved ones she has in her life besides family.
Shannon and me in the Helaman Halls parking lot.
And sometimes I don't realize how much I miss her, until times like this when I sit here (and as much as I hate to admit, crying just a little bit) and wish I could wake up in the morning and go see her (because it's now 3am as I'm writing this). Because I miss playing badminton with her, David and Heather (even when David tried to convince me to play right after having teeth pulled in which I almost passed out, so mom and I watched CSI and Law & Order reruns on TNT and USA instead). Because I miss when she babysat us, and took our dinner "orders" like a waitress. Because when she is around puppies, she is like a 5 year old on Christmas morning. Because she believes in me and is proud of me. Because we like the same music. Because I don't know if I could accurately tell you her favorite color, but I know we both want libraries in our houses one day with all our books on tall bookshelves. Because I remember I was sick on the day she went to her senior prom, and I was half asleep when she left and didn't get to see her in her dress until she got home. Because I wore that same dress to my own prom. Because I remember the first time she almost swore in front of me when a car almost hit us as we backed out of a parking spot, but didn't to be a good example to me. Because I remember the first time she did swear in front of me, and I didn't realize we could say "damn" in front of our parents and not get in trouble. Because I remember when I was in 1st grade and she got her braces on; she wouldn't show David and me when we got home from school. She was jumping on the trampoline and we told jokes to try to make her laugh–it didn't work. We eventually saw them; they were pink. Because at her elementary school fair we had an albino boa constrictor sit on our shoulders. Because we don't get to do it as often, and I miss camping and boating with her, with her spazzing out, screaming "ohmygosh! ohmygosh! ohmygosh!" over and over again. Because I remember in 10th grade, lying in bed with mom listening to them talk on the phone because she had just gone back to school after summer and was homesick. Because she's crazy and puts herself out there. Because I wear the necklace with the heart pendant that reads, "sisters," she got herself, Heather, and me for Christmas nearly everyday. Because I miss her badminton and ping pong victory dances. Because she's good at everything, except she struggles with racquetball. Because I miss when she was a cheerleader and would make all of us go out on the trampoline so David and I could stunt Heather with her as our backspot. Because she always wears my T-shirts when we see each other since she never packs her own.
All of the T-shirts Shannon is wearing in these pictures are mine.
Because I could continue writing this post for hours and never be able to tell everything I would like to tell you, I love, or that I remember about Shannon. Because today is her birthday, and I don't know the last time I was with her on her birthday, or the last time she was with me on my birthday, and I would give anything to be with her to celebrate it.