Happy birthday to the Little Blonde-Haired Girl — AKA, the BEST SISTER in the world!! I sincerely can’t believe Janelle is 32 today!! I love her so much and couldn’t be more proud of the strong woman she’s become!! Over the weekend, as I got to thinking about what I wanted to write in my annual birthday post this year, one theme quickly appeared: My wish for Janelle.
My wish for her. It’s simple, really, and it’s something I was thinking a lot about this morning as I was going through family photo albums. There are so many memories in those albums, and sometimes, it all seems like I’m looking at another family’s life. But when I saw all those snapshots of Janelle, it felt like coming home again.
One look at those photos and I see it. Janelle’s soul. Her kind, pure soul — the soul that I’ve always admired and looked up to, even though I’m the older sister.
It’s the soul that loved nothing more than new bars of soap. As a toddler, she’d line up all the new soaps she’s receive on birthdays and holidays. And, as this photo shows, sometimes she’d even fall asleep next to them. Maybe she was comforted by their heavenly aromas and cleaning capabilities.
It’s the soul that loved to read from an early age. My mom would take us to the library and check out piles of exciting books, and Janelle loved getting lost in them. Even now, reading is still one of her favorite pastimes; her favorite day of the week is when her new issue of The New Yorker arrives!
It’s the soul that loved to let loose on the playground! Janelle always listened to my mom, but anytime there was a wide open playground, my sister just had to run. I’m pretty sure this speaks to her free-spirit nature.
It’s the soul that always had a smile on her face when she was little. She may have been extremely shy, but her smile could always light up a room. When she didn’t say “hi” with words, she’d say it with a smile. Of course, you couldn’t help but smile too!
I know that Janelle worries that she’s lost that soul — you know, that innocence from childhood that once made her so happy and carefree. Well, I just want to shout it from the rooftops…
THAT SOUL IS STILL THERE!!! IT’S BEATING IN YOUR HEART EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!
I see it. Every day. I’ve watched my sister grow into such an amazing woman — someone who has overcome obstacles with strength and determination. Someone who has fought for what she wants and worked so hard for the life she wants. I thank my lucky stars every night that she’s in my life because I, too, wouldn’t be who I am had it not been for her amazing influence.
So, that soul? It’s loving and compassionate and forgiving. And, best of all, it’s still there. It hasn’t gone anywhere, and I hope Janelle knows that. I love you, Sister Bear! Keep showing that beautiful soul to the entire world… xoxo