sisters

Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of. You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there. ~Amy Li

Sisters are there to cheer you on.

To frolic with you.

To be silly with you…

especially at 6:53 AM!

Your sister is there to help you when you can’t button those buttons.

And to bring out your very best features.

Because you have to look good when you are standing next to her.

Seriously.

You can always count on your sister to offer a word of encouragement.

To stand next to you always.

And to get shit done.

No matter where life may take you.

Thank goodness she’s there for you.

Always.

Forever.

the fire apartment’s great-great grand daughter

While checking out this

Fallon tells me how much she doesn’t like fire trucks. They’re kind of loud, they’re kind of scary she tells me.

Yes they are kind of loud, sweet girl. They have to be when they are going to put out a fire, or save lives because we need to GET OUT OF THE WAY! But scary? Not to me, I tell her. Then I tell her about the fire fighters in her family. Her family, she asks? Yes. And as I invite her explore some antique fire trucks on display at a car show, I tell her about my grandfather and uncle, both fire fighters.

Truthfully, she seemed to be more impressed with the sticker the fire fighter gave her.

Oh, three year olds!

But today, Hollie shared the latest Fallonism on Facebook: My uncle papa used to be a fire apartment and would put the nasty fires down. That’s so cool.

She’s a proud fire apartment descendant!

dad brag

Remember when we were little kids and we would dad-brag?

My daddy is the strongest man in the world.

Yeah? Well my dad is stronger than your daddy.

Whatever! My dad can beat up both of your dads.

So, my dad is the smartest.

…and on and on.

True or not, when you are 4 feet tall, all this and more seems absolutely possible…no…true. All of it is absolutely true when you are a kid.

And then you grow up.

But I am pretty certain that few people I know personally can brag that my dad, who is 23 years older than me according to my birth certificate (you do the math), just rode his bicycle across the state of Iowa for the 15th time just because he can and he’s kind of hard core and perhaps a little bit bad ass and likely a bit crazy. It’s RAGBRAI!

I can’t possibly get all my crazy just from one side of my family! I mean, Dad did remind me yesterday about that one time I rode with him on the Tour de Lacs,, a bike ride from Spokane, Washington to C’oeur d’Alene, Idaho and back again with a broken wrist in a cast. Bad ass, maybe. Crazy, oh yes. Still a good ride.

But right now we’re going to celebrate and dad-brag this while Dad is currently kicking back and enjoying (in his words) some low culture. That’s TV to most of us.

As long as he is not Keeping Up With The Kardashians!

raw deals and their beautiful disasters

The Fourth arrived and exited as loudly as it often does every year and it was good.

I said it was good.

It was.

It was good.

Of course I still allowed myself a little bit of melancholy because I do sometimes.

My little brother he will always be and like every other person out there who has lost a sibling, I am more than entitled to miss him. He would have been 52 on July 4th but he will forever be 41 just as he will forever be my broken little brother who looked for approval that was never going to come…at least from those he sought after. In retrospect I try not to focus on the raw deal that was most of his life because it was mine too and raw deals seem to run in the family. Sadly, even to the next generation.

My sister’s children  have lived through more than their fair share of raw too. Given that which Val tried to survive through and the choices she made, it’s hard not to be surprised. But her daughter, my niece, proved to be a survivor surviving really the only way one does survive and thrive and that is to break away and cut the ties. My nephew, on the other hand, struggles not to repeat his mother’s life…and ends up repeating it anyway because family ties that chafe and rub your heart as raw as ours have done are pretty hard to cut away, at least not without some pain and damage. Some of us just can’t handle that pain I guess. I know Randy could not. Neither could Val. And, it seems, neither is her son able to right now. His sister, so much like me, tries to help, tries to fix and, like me so many times before, is hurt in the process. Right now, she is hurting a lot because it’s hard to watch her own brother, the one who was the person she practiced on, the person who taught her about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way is hurting and lost to her in a way that she can not fix. I know this hurt. I know it too well times three…perhaps times four. But all I can do is remind her that all that she can really do is just love him…even if it means loving him at arms length, or even miles and miles length because she deserves to heal and her son deserves so much more…much, much more than than the raw deals we have survived.

So, together, although separated by 3,000 miles, we cry a little for the little boys lost that are our brothers…and pray that her brother will, like us both, survive. It’s all that we can do.

I also felt some sadness for my own daughter and her friends. When you’re 21 or 22, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll be going to a funeral for a friend, a classmate but it sometimes happens. I met her friend, Josh, just two days before he died. Standing in line with Abby, Jodie and Daniel to see Inside Out (go see this movie), I hear, “Hello Abigael!” Naturally, I turn as Abby does because I am the only one who calls her Abigael and I must see who is this other person who calls her Abigael. Abby introduces me to a young man with laughing eyes and a warm smile telling me that this is her friend, Josh.

We shake hands and laugh a little together, Josh and I, because we are the only people who call Abby Abigael. Abby and Josh talk a little bit more but soon wave their goodbyes because, popcorn and snacks in hand, we are ready to go see Inside Out while Josh is seeing another movie that night. It’s hard to imagine someone as engaging as this young man seemed that night would be hiding so much pain behind those laughing eyes and warm smile as his but apparently there was much pain; enough pain that he would take his own life. So now his young friends gather at “the Hook” to remember and celebrate their friend, Josh and tomorrow will bury him. And I find myself sad again. Sad for the end of this young man’s life. Sad for his friends. Sad for his family.

Three men. Three beautiful, young men.

All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they’ll never know how broken you really are.

no apologies for the cuteness

With holidays comes adorable Easter dresses.

Bonus if they are dressed alike because what can be more adorable…

…especially when the darlings are at an age where they can’t really complain and protest. Actually at this age they LOVE it! So seize it while you can.

It’s a very narrow window of time when you can truly get away with such cuteness…

…and enjoy the total cooperation; because it’s fun that we are all dressed the same!

Remember that when the day comes (and it WILL come) when the kids look at these memories and then back at you wondering out loud, “What the hell were you thinking, Mom?!

Then you smile back at them because you have no apologies for such cuteness and you are absolutely certain that someday they will do it to their children too.

Scroll back to the top if you don’t believe me.