An ode to my big sista….

Kris is my sister. She is number 4 and I am number 5 of six kids. Our mother had six kids in 9 years, and the biggest age gap is between Kris and I; 2 years 9 months, and that is because there was a stillborn brother between us. Growing up we were not particularly close. We were so different, she was very quiet and reserved, I was loud and obnoxious. She was frugal, I was not; when we would get to go to the store for candy hers would last all day sometimes more, mine would be gone in a flash, and then I would be so mad that she still had some. She was very strong, I was a wimp. Kris was also a very hard worker, and would be so dilligent about saving her money. She bought her own first car when she was 16, she moved out on her own when she was 18, and married when she was 20. I admired her growing up, but she was always a mystery to me.
Kris is not one to draw attention to herself, as a matter of fact, she is very modest and pretty shy. But she cares very deeply. One day when I was about 11, Kris was out in the woods next to our house trying to save a cat that had wandered up a tree and would not come down. She had been trying to coax it down for quite sometime, but it would just not leave it’s perch. The cat was sitting in a ‘Y’ in the tree about 15 feet above ground. Kris decided to go up the tree to bring the cat down. Just one problem. The tree had no branches. But up she shimmied. She got a few feet off the ground and decided that her shorts were to tight to shimmy in, so down she came, removed her shorts, and up she went again, in just her undies, shoes and shirt. Just as she reached the ‘Y’ where the cat was perched, something happened and Kris lost her grip and fell. Flat on her back. She was hurt. After a few seconds of shock she told me to go call 911 because she could not move. Did I mention that we were the only ones home at the time and we lived 15 minutes from the nearest podunk town?I ran back to the house, called 911, explained what had happened: they would send an ambulance. Then I ran back out to the woods where Kris was still lying on the ground, in her underwear. With the wind knocked out of her, in a somewhat delusional state, Kris then asked me to put her shorts back on her. So I did what any good little sister would do. I put her shorts back on her. Never for a second did either of us think that she could have a spinal cord injury and me moving her even the tiniest bit could do more damage. We just knew that we didn’t want the paramedics seeing that she had been climbing the tree in her underwear. The paramedics arrived just about the time that our mom was pulling in the driveway, and they hauled Kris off to the ER. There was no serious spinal cord damage, but she was definitely hurt. If I remember correctly there was a couple of broken ribs and some deep bruising, and the mystery of how so much dirt got in her underwear. Oh yeah, a few days later the cat came down from the tree and died.
When she was 16, Kris let me tag along with her, her boyfriend Nikko (he was an exchange student from Sweden or Switzerland or Finland or somewhere like that) and a few other friends to the Worlds Fair/EXPO 86 in Vancouver, BC. That was amazing! Here I was, 13 years old, along with all these cool teenagers, in a foreign country. I’m not sure I’ll ever let that happen with my kids, but it was so awesome for me then.
Not long after that, Kris moved out on her own and my parents, younger sister, and I moved to Georgia. There was not much communication between Kris and I during that time only because we were so different and there wasn’t much to communicate about. During the summer before my senior year of high school, Kris married Joe.Then off they went to Alaska where Joe had been living and working. While in Alaska, Kris had her first son Brandyn. Eventually she and Joe moved back to Washington and settled near Bremerton, where their second son Andrew was born.
In the past 12 years my relationship with Kris has evolved. Besides being sisters, we have become great friends. Not that there was ever a rift or anything between us, I just think that ‘adulthood’ has brought us together; that and her cancer. She is a Breast Cancer survivor, and during her illness we connected. We have bonded over having two boys; each the same age apart, and each set of boys so much alike. She is an amazing parent and I have learned a ton by watching her and Joe raise their boys.
We still are so different, but now we just laugh at those differences. We tease each other about being her being OCD and me being ADD. She starts a task or a project and completes it to the very end and does it to perfection. I start a task and then get sidetracked and start another task, then I decide to go have some fun, and only get back to completing any tasks after she gets after me to get it done. She has helped me on just about every home improvement project I have ever done. In our first house she helped me paint my family room/dining room red. That was a big job because it required 3 coats and it was a big room. Then the week before Cooper was born she came down and helped me paint his room. Yet another big job because we did stripes. Another time she helped me take the small deck off our old house. Last year she helped me paint Cooper’s bedroom in our house that we live in now. Again, a big job because we did a road around the entire room. Recently she came down to help with the tear out of our old kitchen cabinets and painting of the kitchen (red again!). This past weekend she was down again and this time she rearranged my living room and helped me get my house organized. The funny thing about the work we do together is that we don’t usually start working until well into the evening and usually go until the wee morning hours. The night we painted Cooper’s nursery we started around 9 pm and finished at 5am. She was just into remission and I was 36 weeks pregnant!

Know what else Kris does? She cuts hair. She used to do it in a salon before she got sick and now she just does it in her kitchen for her family and friends. She gave each of my kids their first haircuts. And she does a much bettter job than The Barbers.

So to Kris, thank you for being such a great sister and an even better friend. I appreciate you so much. Not just for all you do, but for who you are and how you love! You have been a rock to me. You are steady and strong. Thank you for loving me and my family so generously. I love you! YMF…………….

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “An ode to my big sista….

  1. Kris

    Enough said, Now can I delete my blog? YMF

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