Thursday, May 13, 2010

Growing up Twin -

I have never been alone.  From the moment of conception, as a tiny embryo, my sister was right at my side.  Growing up we did everything together, even being born.
Keri was always the leader, sometimes at great cost.  She was the first out of the womb, making the way easier for me, but the process took its toll on her.  In December of ’74, just two months old, we both caught pneumonia.  Being the first born, Keri’s immune system was weaker than mine, and her case was more serious.  We were both admitted into the hospital.  As my mom rocked Keri to sleep, she noticed her skin had become tinged blue, as well as her lips.  Keri was rushed to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. On the way to Children’s, Keri stopped breathing 2 more times.

Being so tiny, her ankle and hear head were the only places that could take an IV.  A small patch of hair was shaved just to the right of her forehead, where the IV was inserted, the hair never grew back there.  A breathing tube was placed down her throat, and monitors were hooked up everywhere. The chaplain was called in and met with the family members, as it wasn’t thought she would make it. But Keri had an indomitable spirit and personality, even from birth, and she recovered and began to thrive.  15 days later she was able to return home.
I never knew until I was much older how close I came to losing my sister. If I even try to imagine life without her...... I can’t.  She is so much a part of me, I sometimes feel that there is no “me” without “her”.  All throughout life, all I had to do was look over, and there she was.  We shared everything, from clothes, to toys, to friends. When I speak of my childhood, even to strangers or brand new friends, I speak of the past in plural.  “our birthday is....” “when we were 5....” .... I do it without thinking.

We shared a room until we were maybe 10 or 12? But even after getting our own rooms, we still slept together at night.  When we were little I was always scared of the dark. Every night as part of our bedtime ritual, we lay on our backs holding hands, Keri would go around the room naming everything in the closet, on the walls, on the floor, under the bed..... so I would know what every shadow was. She never got angry if I asked her to “double check” in the closet, or under the bed.  She would flip the light on, look around, naming all she saw.   I think back on that now, and I am humbled and awed by the love and patience she has for me.
Keri also “took care” of me when we were young. She often spoke for both of us, and made our friends for us.  I was an extremely shy and timid child, the exact opposite of Keri. If I wanted or needed something, I could tell Keri, and she would ask for me.
I can remember being at a distant relatives house that we had never met before.  We were offered cookies, but  I didn’t take any because I was too shy and embarrassed.  Without even asking me, Keri knew I wanted some cookies, so she went to the relative and asked for some cookies for me. That was, and still is, very typical for us. Even as adults, if Keri sees I am in need of something, she just does...or gets.

When I was a single mother, times were so hard, and cash was very short. One year the reunion was held at a restaurant. I had no money, so just ordered tea. When Keri arrived shortly after I did, and placed her order, she ordered hers and mine.  She didn’t even ask if I wanted anything.  She saw I wasn’t eating, was able to read me in an instant, knew I wouldn’t willingly let her buy my meal, and took control.  Some people may have felt that was “assuming” or “pushy” and been upset.  At the time I felt ashamed that she was still having to “take care of me”, but no words could ever express how grateful and honored I am to have such an amazing sister who loves me so much.
Though not identical, Keri knows me inside and out.  She knows all my darkest secrets, and annoying habits. We can communicate with each other without ever uttering a word.  She knows my every gesture, every look, and can read me better than anyone else.  There are no secrets between us, and it would be impossible to even try to keep one from her.  She has a “sense” when there is something wrong, and 99% of the time, she knows how I feel without having to ask.

Maybe all sisters feel this way, or maybe twins do have a stronger bond.  I am so grateful that I have had such a wonderful sister to share my life with.  I am glad that I have never had to be alone, that we have been there for each other for everything.  Though many miles separate us now, she is never far from me.  There are some days I miss her so much it is like a physical pain, but I have only to look within myself to see her again.
I love you Keri.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wayback Wednesday, Post #2 - Grandma and Grandad Bailey -

I can remember spending many nights at my Grandma and Grandad Bailey's house.  During the summers we stayed for weeks at a time.  We loved it.  Looking back, I don't know how she managed to keep her sanity.  It wasn't just me and my siblings there, it was ALL the cousins.  At any given time she would have 7 to 8 kids running in and out of the house, sometimes more when we brought a friend.
Grandma never minded though.  She loved us being there.  I can not remember a single time that she lost her patience and yelled at us.  That's not to say she didn't get on to us.  I remember her chasing the older cousins around with a switch from the tree or more often, her fly swatter.  I don't remember ever getting a whipping myself, though I am sure I must have.  Grandma had a paddle hanging on her wall that someone had decorated and given her.  "Grandma's Paddle" was written across it.  I don't remember the paddle ever leaving her wall.  Grandma and Grandad both were easy-going, never yelling or screaming at any of us.  Their patience seemed limitless.......or maybe that is why Grandad spent so much time out in the shed.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tragedy Close To Home -

I headed out a short while ago this morning to take my children to school.  As I got further on down the road, it appeared that there were vehicles just parked in the road.  They were not moving, there was not any break lights, and I could see people standing outside their vehicles.... I assumed there must have been an accident.  As I crept forward, a truck coming from the opposite direction pulled up, arm waving out the drivers side window... apparantly a house burned down earlier this morning and the firemen were not letting any vehicles through.  I turned around and called the school to let them know, but they were already aware of the situation.
As I drove back home, my children in the backseat asked what I would do if our house burned down, and wanted to know if  I would cry?  My response: Most Definately!
This question of course led to numerous terrifying thoughts, of my house burning, children trapped inside, losing everything.....This is a fear that sometimes haunts me in the middle of the night, prompting trips through the house, checking on the kids.  Hours of lying in bed, thinking of strategies of how to save my family if this happens.  The kids have been taught fire safety in school, and we have discussed crawling on the floor, stop drop and roll, etc., but if a fire did happen, in the ensuing panic would they remember? Would I?  The image of Mary Ingle (can't remember her married name) from Little House on the Prairie enters my thoughts....the episode where she and her baby are trapped upstairs in a house fire, blind and unable to see, holding her baby as she beats on the window trying to break it....  the baby being lost in the fire...  That episode scared me so much as a little girl. And it is a fear that many people have to face in their lifetime.  In an instant, tragedy can strike and totally disrupt our lives.  This was a reminder to me today to appreciate everything that I have.  To not get caught up in my material possessions, to keep in mind what really matters in life.
My heart goes out to the victims of this house fire, and I pray that no one was injured.   Our material things can always be replaced....eventually.   I pray for this family that they all are unharmed, that they can rebuild their lives after this tragedy, and that they will eventually find peace in the aftermath.
I need to head back out and see if the road is clear so the kids can go to school.  I do not know yet who these victims are, but they will be in my thoughts and prayers.......

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


This is the first post in a new series I will be doing every Wednesday.  ln celebration of "Wayback Wednesday"  I will post about a special memory in my lifetime.  For my first post, I wanted to post about something very special.  My memories on first becoming a mother......

I was fairly young when I first became a mom, only 19.  I had been married for just a little over six months.