During the 30 days leading up to my 30th birthday, I am posting a letter a day expressing thankfulness for someone or something that has played a major role in shaping the first 30 years of my life.
Dear Michael, Abbie, & Zach,
You were my first loves. Really.
Michael, you were born when I was five and a half. Being the sibling closest in age to me, you were the sibling that I got to be buddies with when we were young. I was so grateful to have a brother, and I remember lots of time spent making hammocks out of sheets on your bunk-beds and playing together with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Legos, or my Barbies and your G.I. Joes. The biggest way you impacted my young life was in how I learned compassion and how to pray through our relationship. I remember being so scared for you when you would get sick and have bad asthma attacks. It was so helpless feeling, and I hurt for you when I knew you were hurting. I just wanted you to be healthy and happy, and I prayed and prayed for you. I've always been so proud of your artistic and musical talent and I think your diligence in applying yourself to become more and more skilled in what you do is amazing.
Abbie. My sister! You were born when I was almost nine, and you were such a little cutie! Sometimes I wish we had been closer in age, so that your childhood years didn't coincide with my busy high school and college years, when I was rarely home. However, I don't feel like the age gap has hurt our sister relationship one bit. Once you were a teenager it seemed that the gap started narrowing, and it has continued to over the past decade. I love and respect you so much. Your passion for the Lord and for ministry challenges me. I love the similarities between us: music tastes (well, ever since you moved out of your Jonas Bros. phase), movies & shows, books, love for creating, etc. I also love the ways God has made us different, especially the way you are so much more uninhibited than I am and can get people really excited about whatever you are enthusiastic about. I know that quality has been SUCH a gift to so many younger girls, as you have encouraged them in their relationships with the Lord. Oh, and I also really appreciate your fashion sense - I doubt that I'll ever outgrow needing your help in that area!
Zach, sometimes I wonder if I just seem like a super old lady to you :) I was 12 when you were born ... let's not even think about how 10 years from now I'll be turning 40 and you won't even be 30 yet. Bummer. When I think of your impact on me when you were little, I just remember what an encouragement you were to me. My high school years weren't the easiest, since we had moved to K.C. However, when I had really tough or lonely days I knew I could count on an adorable little toddler to be really excited to see me and give me hugs. I remember feeling sorry for other kids who didn't have young siblings to love on them. Now that you are pretty much a man (is it okay if I wait to say you're a man until you turn 18 in November?), I so admire your earnestness in your relationship with God and your desire to learn and grow in Him more. I'm really looking forward to seeing how God uses the gifts He's given you as you move into the next phase of your life after you graduate next year.
Thank you all for being wonderful siblings, and for loving my kids so well. Liam absolutely adores his Mike, Zach, and Aunt Abbie; and I know Cora will as well. I pray for and look forward to many decades of raising families and, hopefully one day, all being in the same stage of life together!
I love you!