We used to chase each other with butter knives all through the house. My parents would leave us alone and think it was safe to do so. And it was, for the first fifteen or so minutes. And then all hell would break loose and one of us would grab a knife and head for the other. It was usually me...with the butter knife. (Saying it was a butter knife makes it better, right?) I would start screaming and running down the hall because I wanted to do something outrageous and she told me no. She was older, she was smarter, and she was in charge. I remember one time when my mom had finally had it and said… “Go for it. Do whatever you want to each other. I’m done! I can’t take it anymore!!” And Noelle and I turned to each other and just started throwing slaps that never landed! After a few minutes of scratching, hair pulling, arms flying, both of us realized we were laughing hysterically. We had no strength to fight each other because we were laughing so hard. And that was it. It was like a truce had been called. After that….we were done fighting and became friends, not just sisters…friends.
My sister turns 40 today. FORTY!!!!! Over the Hill??? Is that what they say? Hmmm. I don’t buy it, because this chick doesn’t age. It’s rude and not fair. Her skin shows no signs of aging and her hair is still her natural color. Whatever. I’m over it. I’m just hoping that this is a little preview of my genes to come.
All kidding aside on this momentous occasion….my sister is a rock star. Period. I don’t know a harder working mom on the planet. Being a mom is hard work, and anyone who is a mom knows that…but having a child with special needs takes on a whole new beast. I have believed for many years now that only certain people hold the privilege of being a parent of a special needs child because the amount of patience and dedication is not for all, only a chosen few. To watch Noelle with Natalie is like watching a saint at work. As I am usually raising my voice and directing my children into a spot for a time out, she is calmly dealing with a non-verbal child who speaks through sounds and hand gestures. Sounds and gestures only Noelle knows. Sure, we can guess from time to time, and sometimes we even get lucky at what Natalie wants. But there is no mistake that Natalie’s life revolves around my sister and their understanding of each other is like nothing I have ever seen. It’s pure and beautiful. I haven’t walked a day in her shoes and couldn’t even come close to imagining her daily struggles. The curve balls that have been thrown at her have not only been faced, they have been hit out the park. She is a fighter, a survivor, and a warrior. It’s that simple.Noelle turns the big 4-0 today! I am the only one, the lucky one, who holds the honor of calling her sister and friend. I don’t view us as just sisters, she is my best friend. And I celebrate her on this day! I celebrate her hard work, her love for her family, her dedication to Natalie, and her perseverance in all that she faces. She is a rock star.
Our offical celebration will take place sixty-eight days from now when we land in New York City. I can’t wait to see her and celebrate New York style!! Hopefully it is a trip to remember and a celebration like no other. CHEERS!!!