I honestly don't remember the moment when Mom and Dad told me and Paul that we were going to be getting a baby sister, but I vividly remember our "family meeting" to pick out her name.
Paul's choice was SpiderMan.
My choice was Melissa.
I'm pretty sure Dad was pulling for Sarah.
But, Mom's vote won... Our baby sister was named Katherine Marie.
Katie has had a bit of a wild streak to her from the very beginning! I remember worrying about Katie when she was little. She would literally run outside naked in the snow. I even asked Mom once if she was really a human. I thought she was a fairy or something. She just had this different spirit than me and Paul - she was more free.
Somewhere around the time of this picture, Katie got sick. I remember the look of confusion on my parents' faces when I heard them talking in the kitchen about "Fever of Unknown Origin." And I interpreted that diagnosis at my young age to mean the doctors didn't know how to fix my sister, so there was no fix for my sister.
Praise God, Katie got better. But, for the next 15+ years, my greatest fear and most
frequent nightmare was that something would happen to Katie, and I wouldn't be able to
do anything to save her.
Needless to say, Katie has been (and still is) one of the most important people to me in my life. She's been through it all with me. And I'm not so sure she can say the same about me. Since I left for college and moved away, there have been chapters of her life now that I've not been able to be an active part of. Katie was always aware of what was going on in my life, and in some way, she was always a part of it.
I don't think Katie realizes the impact she's made on who I am, how grateful I am to have her as my sister, to have shared a room with her for so long, for the confidence I have in her trust and secret-keeping skills, for her unfailing love and forgiveness, and for the support and enthusiasm she's given me, even when my accomplishments, struggles, and adventures were beyond her ability to fully understand or participate in.
When I broke my leg at 16, Katie helped me get dressed until I was limber enough to do it myself.
When I was carjacked at 17, Katie put on the strongest face for me when I got home, and she's stayed strong through every PTSD hurdle since then.
When I got my acceptance letter into nursing school at 18, she was the one who read the news to me over the phone.
When my heart broke into a million little pieces at 19, she sat with me on my twin bed while I cried, night after night, with her arm around my shoulder.
These are just four examples across four years. But, honestly, if I were to start documenting everything I've learned from Katie and through my relationship with her, a blog wouldn't be able to contain it all...
As I reflect back to the day when she came, I realize that Katie was one of the most wonderful gifts the Lord could have ever blessed me with.
Happy 21st birthday Katie Marie. So glad you were born and that God let us be sisters. : )