Twenty days ago, my sister wrote a beautiful blog post for me on my birthday. Although I can’t hope to write as humorously (see number 2) or eloquently (see number 5) as she, today is her birthday, and I wanted to share with you the reasons why I look up to my “little” sistah:
1. She challenges me: I was twelve and she was nine when we went on our first ski trip. We weren’t the sportiest kids, but somehow our Austrian genes kicked in and soon we were snowplowing down the exceptionally gentle bunny hill. The ski lifts, however, continued to terrify us, especially unloading from the lift, when we had to skid down that short, icy hill. My coping strategy was to preemptively crouch as low as possible on my skis, bum skimming the snow, until I was safely on even ground. ...until my little sis decided to zip down, STANDING UP on her skis. What?! On the next run, I was determined that if my nine-year-old sister could manage to get off the ski lift without wiping out, so could I. Without my sister there to challenge and push me to take risks and grow, I am certain I would be in a very different place today.
2. She’s funny: My sister has mentioned in previous posts that our Austrian grandmother referred to her as the family clown. This was an endearing term – I think my sister reminded Grossmama of her fun-loving Uncle Karl, whom she adored. What my sister didn’t mention was that we didn’t speak a common language with Grossmama when my sister first earned her title. My grandma knew my sister was funny, and they didn’t even speak the same language!
3. She’s intelligent: In high school, my sister and I had a phenomenal history teacher who challenged his students to question and think critically about the world. As part of one of his trademark assignments, he told the story of a man who was to be executed in a revolution. This man wrote a letter to his unborn son, leaving him with one word by which he hoped that his son would live his life. Our assignment was to choose one word and write a letter as if we were this man, writing to his son. It wasn’t supposed to be a guessing game, but I remember trying to figure out what my teacher would want to hear, and being mildly disappointed with a mediocre grade on the assignment. Three years later, my sister was in the same class. Her paper received the highest grade possible. While I was busy trying to figure out what my teacher wanted me to think, my sister really thought about the assignment and wrote a beautiful, heart-felt letter.
4. She has a successful career: I see it in the way her two-year-old asks, “Would you play with me, please?” I see it in the way she pulls aside a whining four-year-old and whispers something in her ear. The whispers are greeted with a pout and a huff…and acceptance. I see it in my nieces’ tea parties, their “guessing games” in the car, their silly versions of “The Wheels on the Bus.” As a mom, my sister has the most challenging and important career that exists; she is a wonderful mom and is raising two amazing little girls.
5. She’s brave: The fact that these, my words, will soon be published on the internet for all to read is intimidating enough for me. My sister not only publishes her words on a weekly basis, but shares her deepest struggles and fears. Despite a growing awareness of depression, many people who share that they are struggling with depression experience judgment or rejection. My sister’s courage in sharing her perspective gives a voice to the millions of people who live with depression, ultimately contributing to acceptance and understanding.
Sistah, I love you more than I could ever express. I hope that you know how much I admire you. Whatever happens in life, I will always be here for you. Happy birthday!
Elisabeth, thank you for the wonderfully sweet post. I love you and am thankful every day to have you as my sister.