I remember going to Arizona for my brother’s wedding many moons ago, and during the trip we all went walking at this park; my family (all 5 of us), my brother and his wife, and my Mom. We decided to try to take some pictures and my new sister just walked up to a stranger and asked them to take our WHOLE family’s picture. I remember watching IN AWE, like…Woah. How did she bring herself to do that? I am SO awkward around people, especially strangers, I could NEVER bring myself to approach someone like that. Which is too bad because OF COURSE the person obliged and we ended up with a very treasured photo of our WHOLE group from that day.
My sister-in-law is magical like that.
She emits this energy when you’re around her, and you are just immediately comfortable in her presence. Even before I got to know her, I felt like we were already sisters, just because her heart is so open and full of love and you can’t help but reciprocate that.
But the photo thing…it really is a manifestation of the beauty of her magic. Since that day at the park, I’ve been on several trips with her where she’s done the same thing. She refuses to let a photo-op go by without asking some stranger to capture our group and they always do it with the biggest smile on their face because that’s the effect she has on people. And the photos are always the ones I treasure the most because we’re ALL in them.
I love keeping up with her and my nephews on social media because she’s in SO MANY of the photos. She is the one documenting their lives, but she refuses to not be a part of the chronicle. She either does the Selfie thing (my token move) or she gets a stranger to document it for her. Her vacation photos have pictures of EVERYONE, not just my brother and the boys, which is what my photos often depict because I’m too chicken to talk to strangers.
But MAN, I wish I wasn’t. I just look at the effect she has on people and I am just in awe. She just glows love at every turn and she is one of those people in my life who make me better in every way. We live 1,300 miles apart, yet I feel her influence in my life like she’s right next door. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of her as a wife or as a Mom, as a youth leader at her church or a friend to her Mom group. I want to be filled with the love and compassion and kindness that she’s filled with, whether with my kids, my husband, or in my community. She is the perfect model of someone who Spreads Joy and I’m blessed to have been caught in the ripples of her beautiful life.
Happy Birthday, Sister. Thank you for making me want to be better in every way.