Saturday, October 11, 2014

31 Days to Write True: To a Sister and an (Almost) Brother



(My rehearsal dinner toast; parts of which appeared in a previous post.)

So....Cookie. 

She's the entire reason I knew before Ann Peyton was even born that we wanted to give her a sibling approximately two years younger than her.

 She is the "Ann" that our Annie is named for.  

She was my best friend for as far back as I can remember. When I was in second grade, I wrote a short prose and an acrostic declaring her such. 

I was terribly bossy during those early years and always had to be the teacher, boss, mother, or coach, while she played the willing pupil, employee, child, or athlete.  I made her eat nasty concoctions full of ketchup, honey and vinegar, which I referred to as "punishment".  She loved me in spite. 

She made me laugh. 

And we experienced so many of childhood's beautiful moments together- making mud pies, flying on the tire swing my dad set up, building playhouses (the girl version of fortes), and reading American Girl books. 

And in the hard ones- when a pet died, or a friend betrayed me- she was a constant in my life. 

When Momma would send one of us to our rooms for misbehaving, which typically meant inflicting physical or emotional pain on the other sister, we grieved those minutes apart. 

Once she got her driver's license, she drove every day when we were in high school. Because I *hate* to drive.  Everyone thought that was weird because she was the baby sister, but we didn't care.  

We had rough patches where I lost my mind of a borrowed without permission shirt, but when we both left for college, we learned to appreciate each other even more in our absence. And she kept making me laugh. 

When Peyton and I got married, She was my maid of honor, but the honor of having her stand beside me was truly mine. 

She adores Peyton and speaks so highly of him. She challenges me to be a better wife and to see his goodness more.

 I watched her as she  loved my little girl more than I ever could imagine.  She's always enjoyed kids, but I never expected someone at her stage of life to take such a genuine interest in the little details of Annie's life.  I never anticipated that she would fall in love with Ann Peyton the way she did and want to spend so much time with her. 

She was one of a very few people I felt comfortable asking to be in the delivery room for Graves's birth, knowing it would be a much different experience than Annie's.  I knew the emotions would be raw, that I would be in a ton of pain, and that I'd be at my most vulnerable. I hoped so much she'd want to be there.  And she was.  And it was perfect.  I'll never be able to express how much it meant to me.  Words just won't come. 

She graduated at the top of her nursing school class after taking a risk and trying something she wasn't sure she'd like.  She ended up loving it and she's been perfect.  She used to want to be a veterinarian so badly when she was little, but the Lord knew she was made to care for people.  She cares for them so beautifully. 

She cares for her patients beautifully. She cares for her friends beautifully. She cares for her family beautifully. 

And I know she will care for her husband beautifully. 


So...Conrad. 

Conrad reminds me of Peyton in a lot of ways. He's smart and ambitious and I feel like if the world doesn't give him something he desperately wants, he'll just take it. 

Like Peyton (and perhaps myself a little) if he has an opinion you'll know it. If he has an idea, he's right about it. And if somethings worth standing for, it's probably worth standing for firmly. 

Clearly, there's a lot I admire about him. 

He's also got a fantastic sense of humor, a infectious (if a bit mischievous) smile, and a wonderful laugh. Sometimes, those things are more important to a marriage than the others. 

I explained earlier that Cookie is a large part of the reason Graves came into our lives when he did. Obviously, I didn't grow up with a brother. Someone to tease me and make me laugh at myself, someone to high five my little boy and laugh at his antics, someone to banter across the Thanksgiving table with. But I've gotten to enjoy those things over the past six years. And I'm so glad you'll be an official part of our family now, Conrad. 

I love you both dearly. 


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