Today is the birthday of my amazing sister, Lorien. It is also the birthday of my amazing brother, Christian. They are not twins. In fact they are eleven years apart. What are the odds of sharing your birthday with a sibling? What ever they are, I imagine they are greatly increased when you have 10 siblings.
If there is one thing I've loved about being the oldest of oh-so-many, it's being able to enjoy the different personalities that have emerged as my sisters and brothers have gotten older. It's so fun to see them come into their own, to be able to have real conversation, and to be awed at their talents. There was no cookie cutter used in my family. Everyone is delightfully different.
Lorien is an artist. She has this flair she's carried with her since her wee years when she would dress up in multi-colored clothing with matching hair accessories in her three (yes, 3) ponytails. She plays the banjo and the fiddle. She recently graduated from BYU and is working as an uber-talented landscape design artist (if you want someone to take a look at your yard, she specializes in residential work, but I think she can do basically anything). Her work is gorgeous.
I've always been impressed with how Lorien decides to do something, and then does, including her triathelon. When I was in high school we shared a room and had a lot of fun. We used to keep each other up laughing and listening to music way past bedtime. But since I was six years older, I was always the one who got in trouble for it. Something she thought was hysterically funny. We used to have this one black shoulder pad, you know the huge ones from the eighties, and we would hide it in random places for the other person to find. In a backpack, an instrument case, a pillow, a shoe. It kept us in fits.
* * * * * *
Christian was born my junior year of high school on a day when I had a drill tream competition. He's number nine of eleven. When he was about three or four and I wasn't home very often he specialized in ignoring me. Really truly ignoring me. I swear he did it on purpose. Maybe he thought I was just some random person who occassionally showed for dinner. Maybe he thought if I wasn't going to hang out at home he wouldn't bestow any attention on me. One Sunday morning I was getting ready for church and ran down stairs to grab something from the laundry room. He was playing in the next room. He glanced at me as I passed, then resumed playing. But as I continued up the stairs I hear a little boy say casually "Nice dress." I think it was the only thing he said to me for two years.
Christian is a smart person. He's very astute and observant. He can read the true motives of people like you wouldn't believe, epecially adults (sad to say, usually not to their advantage). He has a great imagination. He writes. He makes movies. He reads like crazy. Once when he was about nine I was driving him up to a Little Leage game. His team was the White Sox. They were playing the Giants. (Or something like that.) He commented to me that it would be pretty funny to watch a game played by real white socks and giants. And we laughed together because the image was a funny one.
So today I say, Happy Birthday, Lorien! Happy Birthday, Christian! I wish I were home to celebrate. It's always a bummer to miss out on the opportunity to eat two birthday cakes. I love you.