Growing up, I always wanted a sister. It was just me and my younger brother. My brother is amazing and we have always gotten along well and been close, but what girl doesn’t wish sometimes that she had a sister?
We grew up in a girl-heavy neighborhood in the suburbs, so I always had plenty of girl friends to play with. My brother, I’m sure, spent a lot of time wishing there were some other boys to play with. Or at least some girls who didn’t insist on playing dress up with him. He looks very cute in a bonnet, if you’re interested.
I had my surrogate sisters, the girls with whom I was so close we might as well have been sisters. My friend Kelly, who I met when I was five, was often mistaken for my sister. I will always consider her family.
But still, no real life sisters.
When I was 23, I married Luke. Luke, among the thousands of other amazing things he brought to our marriage, came with a very large family. In addition to marrying this amazing man, I suddenly had the gift of two sisters. Last year, my brother got married. Bam, another instant sister.
And in all the years I spent wishing for a sister as a child, I don’t think I could have ever dreamed up three women as kick-ass as the sisters I got.
Luke’s step-sister, Anne, is amazing. She welcomed me into the family with open arms and an enormous smile. She is the kind of woman who wears heels even though she is six feet tall already because why the hell not? She does not sit around and wait for life to happen. She has created a very cool career for herself, and is one of those people who has a dream and then actually works to see it become a reality. She dreamed of living in LA. A few years ago, she moved there. She is loving and joyful and independent and inspiring and one of my favorite parts of spending time with Luke’s family. She falls in love with the quirkiest pets and they love her back fiercely.
Anne continues to welcome and accept me whole-heartedly into her family, and I love her for it. I cannot wait to see what this incredible woman does next.
Mindy is Luke’s half-sister and the oldest in a family full of brothers. Mindy radiates the type of patience that can only come from growing up with brothers. She spent time in the peace corps and now has an amazing job as an environmental educator. She is brilliant and creative and thoughtful. She has spent her adult life making a difference in the lives of others.
Years ago, Mindy knew that she wanted to be a mom. Rather than sitting around hoping for the right guy to come along, Mindy became a foster mom. She fostered a brother and a sister, who I am proud to now call my niece and nephew. Mindy is one of those people who was clearly meant to be a mom. She is patient and kind and tender-hearted and just the right touch of sarcastic. Mindy is the kind of mom that I would like to be someday. She is Luke’s big sister, an amazing mom, and someone I deeply admire.
Kate is my brother’s wife. I couldn’t imagine anyone more perfect for him. She is exactly his kind of crazy. Laid-back, silly, fun, nerdy, artistic, and compassionate. Kate’s passion in life is animals. I don’t just mean she really likes dogs or cats or guinea pigs. I mean at one point they had 17 individual animals living in their home. She makes these animals her number one priority and gives them a safe, healthy, and loving home. Kate runs the Northern Colorado Herpetological Society and spends a large portion of her time rescuing reptiles and educating students and the public about them. I don’t know if there is an animal on God’s green earth that Kate does not find beautiful in some way. Kate also rescues dogs. My husband and I foster dogs and give them a loving temporary home. This is not what I mean when I say that Kate rescues dogs.
Kate works for an animal shelter and will go to humane societies and other shelters and bring back the dogs that no one believes can be saved. She and my brother foster dogs who are terrified of the world around them. They teach these dogs that they are loved, that it is ok to trust, that the world has kindness in it. They truly rescue these dogs. Kate’s love for animals humbles me. She has found a way to impact the world around her for good, and I stand in awe of her.
Each of my sisters has made an impact on me, on my life, and on the life of those I love. My husband would not be who he is today without his sisters. My brother grows every day with his wife. And I am shaped by these women who have shaped them. I am deeply grateful, unspeakably blessed, and full of love for these sisters who have come into my life.
Oh Ms Jennifer. Your writing is wonderful, yes. But your heart which is felt through your words in beyond amazing. so lucky to have you in our family.