Today is my oldest sister Purple Kangaroo’s birthday!
Happy birthday, AJ!!!
My sisters, AJ and Sis, and I have always been close. Since we have no brothers, AJ took on the role of protector and guider when we were young. She was always ready to defend us, teach us, help us, and yes, boss us. ;-) In my six-years-younger eyes, AJ’s ideas were always the bestest, most cleverest, most down-right brilliantest ideas in the world!
AJ particularly loves animals, and she was deemed An Authority on anything to do with an animal, bird, fish, reptile, or bug by Sis, me, and it seemed the whole neighborhood. Any injured or stray living thing found in the whole area seemed to find its way to us. So AJ, with our help, nursed many a broken-winged bird, cat-caught bunny, newborn mice, and even a praying mantis. Indeed, after AJ was married she worked as a veterinary assistant for a time, putting her lifetime of practice to good use.
My sisters and I were complete tomboys and complete girly girls, having the best of both worlds. We would spend hours climbing trees (ok, so I didn’t climb very high!), splashing in the ponds or creek, building tiny mud houses for our plastic wild animals or big forts for ourselves, and playing with salamanders, frogs, crawdads, and snakes. Then we would clean up and spend hours in the kitchen making little sandwiches, petit fours, and chocolate-dipped strawberries before donning frilly dresses to serve tea to our friends.
Since we were all homeschooled, I also have many memories of our school days together. History textbooks apparently repeat every six years, so AJ and I were often studying the same time periods at the same time. This meant we could do a lot of fun projects together! AJ also taught me and a group of other home schooled high schoolers a speech class. I loved that! Each week she asked us to describe something beautiful we had seen. I still remember many of the speaking tips I learned.
I also have special memories of the three of us sisters singing together, reading together, and playing piano together. I remember AJ making up stories to go with classical music (either her own piano music or radio music) and we would act it out or dance to it.
Speaking of stories, AJ has had a huge influence on my own writing. AJ also writes and she has been a great encouragement and role model for my writing aspirations.
But AJ has been a role model for more than just writing. She has struggled with health problems through most of her life, and now that I too, am struggling with my health, it is an encouragement to cry, laugh, and pray with a sister who understands. Everything AJ does, she does wholeheartedly, despite her health. She has never let it stop her from living life to the full. It is an honor to see how she lets God use her health troubles to honor Him and to encourage others.
AJ, thank you for being more than a sister. Thank you for being my friend.