Sunday, January 31, 2010

Family is a Blessing

I'm at my sister's house in Minnesota right now visiting with her family.  Her daughter, Mandi, just got married to a great guy named Scott on Friday night.  It was a beautiful wedding and she was a gorgeous bride and he looked so handsome in his military uniform. It was such a blessing to be a part of this special moment with my sister, who sat beside me, sobbing as she watched her baby get married.  It was such a beautiful moment.  I know I will be doing the same thing when my babies get married!

My sister and I have been best friends all of our lives and I think a lot of that had to do with our military upbringing...when you move around a lot, you tend to learn to really depend on one another for stability and comfort.  We've always done that with each other.  We only fought once, that I recall, and that was about a boy in high school.  Silly...

We laugh because her daughter, Mandi, looks and acts just like me.  I've always been very outgoing and full of energy and a little on the high-maintenance side (sorry, Mandi) but Marie has never been bothered by that.  She was always the "wind beneath my wings" so to speak - she liked to let me shine.  We all need a Marie in our lives, in my opinion.  My daughter, Stephanie, is just like Marie, too.  She is dependable, sturdy, quiet, but strong and someone you can always trust.  We always say how cool it is that God gave us each other to raise.  It makes me feel less heart-sick that she lives so far away, I suppose (she lives in Minnesota and I live in South Carolina).

We always thought we'd grow up and live in houses right beside each other.  Our husbands would be best friends.  Our kids would play together.  We'd have cookouts every weekend.  We had it all figured out.  Until they moved to Minnesota about 18 years ago and I knew there was NO WAY I could live in the frozen tundra!  I am always amazed how when I see her, which is not very often, we pick up where we left off.  There is never an awkward moment.  We are still so close, though miles have kept us apart physically the miles cannot touch our bond.  Maybe you have someone in your life like that.  What a blessing!

Seeing my sweet niece get married the other night made me realize how much I've missed by not being able to be there for her while she grew up.  I mean, I know she knows I love her, but to be able to be there on a day to day basis would have truly been such a blessing.  Family is just the best, isn't it?  Yes, there are times of struggle and times of heartache in families, but we are in it together - and nothing can ever separate that bond we share - no matter if we live 2 minutes or 2 days apart.

My sister is so blessed and such a blessing to everyone around her.  I can see that she has gained the respect, love and admiration of those around her here in Minnesota.  Though her "family" is mostly on the East Coast, she has a family here now and that brings me tremendous joy.  Being away from her all these years and only seeing her a couple of times a year (on good years) has been hard but seeing her in her element makes me realize that no matter where God decides to put her, she is going to shine.  She can't help it. 

I will never get over how someone I haven't spend much time with can look and act so much like me! Mandi and I have always had that in common and it's very sweet.  Congratulations to Mandi and Scott - my prayer is that they live a long, happy, blessed life together and that they will always know how much they are loved by their far away (in body) but close (in spirit) Aunt Leslie.

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