Friday, May 7, 2010

The Wonder Twins

My Favorite Moms- Day 5

Disclaimer: Ok first off I have to say, my sisters are NOT twins. They are, however, only 13 months apart and look enough alike that people mistake them ALL THE TIME! They spent a lot of time together growing up too. They were like best friends. Plus, I have more sisters than days left so I have to do 2 of them today. I just thought this would be the easiest way.

The beautiful gal on the left is Gretchen. We call her Gertie. (the redhead in the middle is her BFF Tammy) At her dance studio--as in she owns it--most people only know her as that. When she was little, she insisted on being called Fred. If you called her by name she would say, "I'm not Gretchen. I'm Fred. Scotty's little brother." Carson was still a distant hope so she took pity on the only boy in the family and decided he needed a little brother. What a super insightful thing for a 4 year old to think of, really.

Gertie is the easy going, adventure loving gal in the family. Not going to lie, she was a bit of an ugly duckling that turned into a GORGEOUS swan when she grew out of it all. She says it, I am not being mean. But she has always been up for something exciting! When she was really little she would empty cupboards and hide inside them. We called her a little monkey. She climbed on EVERYTHING. Up the door frames, on tables, into trees. We literally found her swinging from the chandelier one day.

Gertie has always been super active. We used to make up plays on the back porch and do little performances for our parents. She also loved the swing set and the trampoline. She played soccer for several years and when she was 12 she started dancing and has never stopped. She has turned a love for something fun and exciting into a career and a growing business. I really admire her drive and determination. Her first "dance studio" was in my parents front room. She would push the furniture out of the way and teach little girls how to dance. She has a gift for teaching. It is amazing the things she can get such little girls to do, and to do well.

I have always had a great relationship with Gertie. We are just far enough apart in age that we were never on each others radar so we never fought. She was super obedient too so that helped in the babysitting arena. I was never forced to be mean to her. (I was a mean, mean big sister.) When Gertie graduated from high school, I was graduating from college. For her present, my parents bought her a ticket to Hawaii to come spend 3 weeks with me. It was so much fun to have her and Molly there with me. They slept on my floor and played with my friends...and sometimes me when I wasn't working or taking finals. I am grateful she was there to share that special day with me. It was such a great feeling to have my family there to congratulate me and to be a part of the biggest achievement I had made. I cherish that memory.

After college I went to work and got a real job. I worked there for about a year. I hated my boss. Loved the job. I was torn, but knew I couldn't stay there. Gertie had moved up to Island Park to work for the summer and told me to come live with her and work there...they needed more waitresses at the restaurant she was working at. So I quit and I moved. It was in July. I had so much fun with her and her friends. Now my friends. I felt old though compared to them. But it was a great experience and one of the last adventures I had as a single person.

We had fun going to West Yellowstone late at night and dancing to Ricky Martin music. We watched a lot of super funny movies and laughed til we almost peed. She spent a lot of time fishing. Which I don't like. (She hunts too. I think she was 21 when she took hunters safety with a bunch of 14 year old boys.) I grew to know her well as a person and not just a little sister. She had to leave early to get back to school. She was on the Bengal Dancers at ISU and they started practice early in the summer. It was still fun, but not the same after she left. It's a good thing I had Adam and Cy, my new best friends.

After Island Park I moved home. (I told you about sharing a room with Sam) Gertie lived there too and we went to the same singles ward and hung out together, like friends not just sisters. She was a good listener while I was dating Ryan and helped me through the excitement and scary part of getting engaged and then married. It was really great to have such a close friend through all that, and to have it be my sister made it even better.

Gertie and I both live in the same town now. Our girls are pretty close in age and our kids like to play together. Infinity Dance Studio is her thriving business and my girls are lucky to be her students. They love dancing, but I think they love being with her the most. It has been so fun to be a part of that adventure. I always tell people who ask that I have no official job there, which is true. I am the owners sister and by default they all think I know everything and direct questions at me. I like having that clout. It makes me feel important. I would put my name next to Gertie's any day.

Gertie is super organized and a little OCD about keeping things clean. Her house makes me cringe in shame. Not only is it spotless ALL THE TIME it is beautifully decorated and warm and cozy. Plus it always smells good in there! It is fun to hang out at their house for no good reason. I love living near her. I wish our lives were less busy so we could spend more time together. She is crafty and always has a fun project. She makes me want to be more crafty.

At one point in my life I considered her my very best friend in the world. I am so grateful she and I have grown so close. I love being near her and a part of her life. She makes my life brighter because she is in it.

**Pause for tears. Grab your Kleenex. Ok you good? On to the next sister of the day**

The sister on the right is Ashley. Look how tan she is. This is what you will notice most about her if you meet her... She is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL person I know. Inside and out. She loves people so much and you can feel that love radiate from her when you are around her. She makes me feel awesome whenever I am in the same room as her. I love it.

Ashley is often misunderstood I think. Her motives are pure, but most people think people like Ash are too good to be true. No one can be THAT NICE all the time. But she can. And she is. Don't get me wrong she has her moments just like anyone else, but she really is a super nice person. Oh and she is freaking hilarious too. Did I mention that? She is.

When we were young we had a love/hate thing. I loved to torture her and she hated me for it. I know sisters, what are you going to do? We grew out of it, but we have always butted heads just a little bit. I think it is the stubborn thing. We are both always right. It makes us good moms, right?

Ashley is the middle child. She has the syndrome and the drama to go with the placement. She has always been the center of attention. She has no fear. She would walk up to total strangers when she was 2 and begin a conversation with them. "Hi. What's your name? Where's your baby?" She used that fearlessness to get a lot of things in life. Solos in choir, leads in plays. She has a beautiful singing voice too. I love listening to her sing. We get asked to sing as sisters a lot, but she is usually the one with the solo. Me, not so much the singer. I am just there because I am a sister. I am ok with it. I don't sing well. I know it.

When Ashley was 16 she fell in love. Serious, I want to spend the rest of my life with this man, LOVE. I thought she was crazy. Turns out I was wrong. This all happened while I was going to college in Hawaii and having my adventures and "living" life and not even thinking about getting married. I had a hard time understanding her motives. She waited for him on his mission (he is a few years older) and went away to college for like 1 semester while he was gone. She was content to stay put and move forward with her life. I did not understand it at all, so I had a really hard time relating to her. I felt like (in my naive little way) that she was giving up so much life to be married so young. What I didn't realize, but now respect, is that she knew exactly what she wanted when she was 16 years old. It took me at least 10 more years to figure it out. I still feel like I am trying to figure it out sometimes.

When I was first married, we lived in the same town, not too far away from each other. Our first babies are only 7 months apart. Ashley used to go for her morning run toward my house so she could stop by and see Ally everyday. She was so excited for her baby and loved mine that much more because of it. They look incredibly alike too. We took her little Yogs to McDonald's with us once when they were around 2. People asked us several times if they were twins. They still look a lot alike. It is strange too because Al looks just like Ry's mom did.

One Christmas Eve, Eve Ashley's house caught fire and the roof burned. We were living in Colorado and made it there just a few hours after the fire had happened. It was a crazy holiday week and everyone was in shock. The thing I noticed most was her attitude. She was strong and positive while her world was crumbling around her. Her kids were not scared because she was not scared. Her faith helped her stay strong. She was comforted when she should have been crushed. I was amazed.

Ashley is driven. When she wants something she goes after it full force. I envy her conviction. I feel like I used to have drive, but nothing like hers. She is a wonderful mom. She has the house of her dreams. She has a horse that she has always wanted. But she has worked hard to get these things because she has drive. She is a Director in MK and drives a pink Cadillac. She runs marathons. She makes me a little jealous.

When Ashley was young she used to always talk about having twins. Twin boys. She really and truly wanted to have twins. I thought she was nuts. 2 years ago her wish came true. She got one of each though and they are the cutest little things ever! Well maybe not so little. When they were born a month early they had to stay in the hospital for a couple weeks extra. I think this was the hardest thing I have ever seen her go through. She would go to the hospital to feed them every 3 hours. She talks about the first 6 months of their life like it was a blur. We didn't see her much during those months. If I did, I went to her house. She rarely left. I cannot imagine. It takes a truly special person to have twins. I could never do it.

Ashley has become one of my best friends in the past couple years. I told you she bought my Grandma's house next door to my mom. Every time we go visit, we get to see them. We stay at their house half the time we are there. I love being with them. We have both grown up enough that we finally get each other and everything doesn't have to be a fight. Her husband, Scott and Ry are super good friends. Luke could not ask for a better role model than Yogs. (they both love Super Mario Bros) I feel welcome in her home and grateful to have the time with her. We love to laugh about the silliest things. We have karaoke nights together and make fools of ourselves.

She is one of my favorite role models. I look up to her in a lot of ways. Her strength and faith make me want to strive to live better and to be a better person. I love her so much and wish I could have seen her for the great person she is 10 years earlier! She is amazing. She is super woman. She is my sister. And I love her.


Jill said...

Such sweet-and TRUE words about both of your sisters, who I also happen to love.

You are a good writer, Lish. You need to make sure your lovelies see all of the nice things you've written about them too. They need to know how much you love them. :)

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