Today is my sister's (Eileen Funkhouser Rouch) birthday. She is 5 years younger than me. That is her standing between Dad and Mom. Little brother Gene is on Mom's lap. And process of elimination tells you that I am the one standing at my dad's knee. My sister and I are very different in some ways. We are different in politics. We have differing views in some aspects of "religion". Maybe even a tad different in raising children, and fashion and jewelry, and maybe some other things. But we are sisters. We came from the same two parents, share a heritage of faith, integrity, strong work ethic, humility, and many other great inherited traits.
Over the years I for one have come to understand that she is always there for me. I am sure there have been times she thought I had lost my mind, gone over the edge, over the top, or dropped through the floor. But she has been there when I needed her to be. She has been an encouragement when I needed to be encouraged. She held me together when I thought I was coming apart. And she has taught her two burly sons (Jim and Josh) to do the same so I know they are there if I need them.
I heard some good thoughts just today on the radio about family. Some that stuck out were that families stick together, we fight for each other, we hold hands against the elements, we close ranks if we need to protect each other, and we open the floodgate when we need to. We cry together, laugh together, remember together, push forward together, put the pieces back together for each other when we need to.
After all, it was my little sister who brushed my hair for me just before my first (blind) date at age 15 with the man who was to become my husband a few years later. It was my sister and her boys who took great care of our mom in her later years till her death in 2008. It is my sister who has made sure she was at every major event, mostly weddings, that my own family has had.
Thank you to my sister, Eileen. And a very happy birthday with many more to share.