She is the only one who remembers my January wedding anniversary. But then, she remembers every person in the family, their anniversary and birthday, always sends a card, hand writes her thank-you notes, and wraps gifts with a style all her own. With real ribbon and pretty paper not from the Walmart. She's a little bit country. A little bit rock and roll. And a little bit of a girl. Thank goodness, she didn't take after me in the body department. But she's not a girl anymore, and I have to keep reminding myself of that. Her voice is higher-pitched than mine, and she has very little curl to her thin, baby-fine hair, but other than that, the similarities are many.
We adore many of the same movies, books, political views, and convictions. We could watch Sense & Sensibility from morning to night, read Outlander again and again, and we know every great line in Steel Magnolias. Neither of us likes to run. Or jog. Our hands are the same, down to the tips of our short-round fingernails.
She's anal to a fault, just like her mother. Would rather do it herself, than trust anyone else to help. We hate balancing a checkbook, and would rather have our finances handled by someone else. (Sorry, Suzie Orman.) She far surpassed me in education, but our work ethics cannot be tampered with. We work like mules with our eyes to the ground, and give it all we got and then some. We can work around the clock.
We love to play just as hard. Picnics with family, barbeques, holidays, we'll find an excuse to visit friends and family. Well, she does more than me. But we have best friends, and we keep them for life. We love all things spiritual, but believe in one God. We both dream a lot, have nightmares about religion and wrath-of-God type stuff. She will not watch movies about war, apocalypse, or end-of-the-world drama. Refuses to watch it.
But we do share a love for a good chick-flick, snow, and a great pizza.
Of course, we also share a deep and abiding love for Lily, and every child. But she has opened her arms and heart to those most challenged, the physically and mentally handicapped. Her life's calling is to provide the opportunity for them to read great books. Both of our lives revolve around great books, it seems.
She's loyal, considerate, and would rather talk to you about you than about herself. She loves a good, cold beer. Ice cream. Great restaurants and fine wine. We share these loves, and some hurts, too. We hurt over "stuff" that happens in our families. She loves her father and adores her step-father, and long ago stepped in to fill a void in his life. The loss of his own daughter. A pain neither of can imagine.
We support and pray for our President and we root, wholeheartedly, for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Although I'm not quite sure she understands my love for South, she certainly visits it often. But that's where her nanny lives.
Together we share a love for "Nanny & Pop" and my nieces and nephews, every last one of her cousins ... are also her friends. She never tires of visiting those she loves, and her aunts and uncles are extremely important to her. Her ability to love is boundless, and I've rarely seen her angry. Drawing attention to herself is not something she does well. Living in the limelight is not on her agenda. And as biased as I may be, her faults are few.
We both love to travel. But I've rarely gone anywhere with her. Although, we've certainly walked a very long spiritual road together. We share the same key to the door of our past. But our lives, as much as they are the same, are quite different. I once worried about those differences, but now I think the thing to do is to celebrate them, enjoy them, live vicariously through those differences, and try to see things through each others eyes.
Her loyalty to her brother and sister-in-law is repaid by their loyalty in return. Their mutual respect will see them through the years, and when they are old and sit around and talk about their parents, they will remember how alike we all were. I try, as I get older, to see nothing but the good in my children. To remember that although they are indeed human, they are the pieces of me that will go on long after I am gone. I want to know what motivates them, what moves them, what makes them the loving individual that they are.
What I have learned is that Jillian is a rare flower that busts up through hard-packed clay and spreads happiness on the faces around her. She'll not read this, I don't think she reads my blog much. And I won't call her to tell her to read it. She already knows how I feel about her. I just like to think that those who know her, are all the more blessed for it. A simple statement, but true.
Someday, I will talk about my sons. Oh, Lord. Where do I start?
If this is all too syrupy-sweet for you today, I make no apologies, but maybe you need to remember the few things about your children that motivate you. They are, after all, why we keep moving forward. Or they should be.
Blessings to you and yours.