advice from a big sister to my engaged baby sister

sherri danae, 

you came out 10 minutes later than your "older" twin sister.  

looking at it now, maybe you have always been trying to catch up in life.  6 weeks premature, you were the sickly one.  the "tiny" one, as everyone started referring to you as.  it wasn't that shannon was so much bigger than you (because she wasn't!), it was just the significance of your pint sized stature…

it always seemed to collide with your health.  asthma that you fought... crazy allergies...it seems that there were about 6 halloweens in a row that you were in the hospital for your  asthma and pneumonia.

dad always said that you came out fighting. 

and if i didn't know your twin sister's heart the way i do, i would think that maybe you had to fight for your own place the whole time that you were in the womb.  i know that was not the case.  for you both are fighters…overcomers…and will not settle for failure….

maybe your feisty spirit was in also knowing you would need to start gathering that strength from the very beginning.

our quiet, sweet, strong sherri.

we could always see your wheels turning in your head full of blond springy curls.  

"uh oh, she's thinking again," we would say!

and then there was the the rhyme we recited..."there was a little girl, who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead….and when she good, she was very good…and when she was bad, she was horrid…"

you had the curl that hung just as the rhyme sang...and although it seems harsh to say or hear, you were horrid when your temper would fly!

no one could fight harder or scream louder than sherri danae.

your strength in that little machine of a body, served you well.

multiple state champion in gymnastics...

ranked nationally in cheerleading partner stunting...

your brains as you excelled in school….

your musical talent as you became a classical pianist and dynamic soloist….

on the outside, you were steel...you did it all, you thrived in everything...

those who love you, know that the outside not always told the complete picture.

the trials you faced, some too personal to account publicly, could have thrown anyone anyone to the curb.

then dealing front stage, with your eating struggle, gave everyone an inside look at some of the battles you faced daily.  watching you fade away…day by day, week by week, was torcher on those of us who loved you.  and as i told you many times, it hurt us deeply.

any struggle that we endure changes us.  we can let it take us over, or we can use it to make us stronger.  your struggle changed you.  it kept you locked inside.  it kept you from happiness, freedom…it kept you searching to put pieces together.  they were pieces that we wanted to place together FOR YOU, but no one could.  you had to do it yourself.  

you had to look at the pain, straight in the face.  

you had to hold your arms out to God to carry your burdens for you.

you had to re-create yourself in every way that you could try. you had to break through the glass to embrace the life in front of you.

today was so special.  

to see a man like nathan love you so tenderly yet so strongly makes my heart swell with love and happiness and pride.  

but i'm your big sister….

do you remember when i used to tell you, "i never want my pain to be in vain, girls!  learn from this…learn!"?

on such a happy, faith filled, hopeful day, that it seems like no cloud could fall on, remember this sweet girl….clouds do come…as does the rain.  and the choices that we make, one at a time, help to weave together the path on which we walk forward.  even as running a race, every step counts.  the steps you take alone and as a couple will keep you on course, and striving for your goal. 

your happiness arrives….a time in life you are able to embrace fully.  a freedom in living that i pray brings you so many blessings and much much joy.  

walk into this fully sherri.  grasp it for all its worth, and with every single breath counting.  you are an overcomer when you choose to overcome.  

i'm cheering you on, dolly.  loving you, praying for you….

congratulations to you and nathan both!

darling, you are so beautiful.