I was 6 years old when my adorable baby sister, Jeanne, came into my life. I’m pretty sure I felt envious of all the delight everyone found in her, although I am unable to recollect the feeling of jealousy. What I do remember is teasing her “unmercifully” when she was old enough to scream her head off about it. Somehow, finding ways to get a scream out of her seemed to satisfy some feeling inside my heart! Hmmmm, could it have been jealousy?
Every summer our family would drive a total of 3 long miles out-of-town to my mother’s vacant childhood home, which we affectionately called, “The Farm”. We would pack for a two-week stay at The Farm, but in reality we all knew we would end up spending our entire summer there. (I could write a whole book about The Farm & our childhood memories there, but I’ll save that for another day).
An outhouse, kerosene lamps, a pump rather than running water, an old-fashioned ice box for a refrigerator, and wood stove for cooking, were a normal way of life out there. Imagine how fun it was to lock the door of the outhouse on my little sister and leave her in there (with the daddy-long-leg spiders), screaming at the top of her lungs, or enticing her into the tree house, only to climb down and remove the ladder so she was stuck up there. I know what you’re thinking . . . I was pretty mean . . . I agree.
A long time ago I repented to her and she forgave me — and I’m really glad, because today she’s one of my very best friends. Over the years, she lived in our home on two different occasions, she was with me when I gave birth to my youngest son, she stayed with our two young children the day I was flown to Denver to deliver our twins, and she’s been a loving aunt and friend to all my children. We’ve laughed together until tears have run down our cheeks, we’ve worshiped and prayed together, taught school together, spent holidays together, cried together over my brother’s death, a broken engagement and our pre-mature baby and grandbaby going to heaven, and we’ve held each other as we said good-bye to our dad and mom, respectively, before they left us to live in heaven.
She waited for (what seemed like a long time) for her prince to come into her life and sweep her off her feet, and then they had three beautiful children who have called me Aunt Ree ever since the first one started talking. Jeanne is a fun and loving wife and mother, a creative and wise teacher, a godly role-model to her children and students, and a loyal and caring sister to me. This year Jeanne, and her terrific husband, Dan, celebrated their 21st year of marriage. Someone asked their son Jared, what he thought about his mom and dad being married for 21 years and he said, “Fun! They have fun together!”
So you see, all my teasing when she was little, paid off . . . instead of screaming, she learned to laugh and have fun! Happy 21st Anniversary Dan & Jeanne!