Thankful This Thursday: My Sister

Posted on January 14, 2010. Filed under: Thankful This Thursday | Tags: , , , , , , |

She’ll probably never even read this post. (!!!!?!????) Half the time I wish she came with a mute button. That’s not very nice to say, I know. But the girl literally speaks every thought that pops into her head. You know how you could be walking down the stairs and think to yourself, “there’s a red string on the stair; I should pick that up…later”? She says it out loud. And the game “20 Questions”? That’s just a warm up for this girl!

But my sister is a part of our family, and by that, I don’t mean she is a part of my family because she is my sibling. I mean that she is a part of Braden and I. Braden expects to see her at our house on Wednesdays. If I haven’t talked to her in a couple days, I wonder what she’s up to. When I’m watching a movie, I want her to be watching it with me. I buy my groceries with her in mind. I want her to read the same books I do so we can talk about them.

We are two incredibly different people who rarely agree on anything, but we would be lost without each other. She drives me nuts, but at least she is in the vehicle with me!

When I found the keepsakes in the garage back in November, I came across a folder full of sweet things my sister wrote to me while we were growing up. To give you an idea of how much my sister has always loved me, here are some titles and some content of the letters, poems, cards and notes I’ve saved from her:

  • “A Birthday Poem from Me to You” (A very sweet poem written when she was 13.)
  • “It’s Your Birthday, Sister – I’m always telling other people how great I think you are. Today I’m telling you. Happy Birthday.” (A Hallmark card.)
  • “You’re the Greatest! Happy Valentine’s Day, Sis!” (A homemade construction paper card.)
  • “Laurie, You Are the Coolest Sister!” (A colorful sign drawn on the computer to hang in my room.)
  • “dEAR LORIE, You are nice, You are nice, You are funny, You are pretty. You are good at nintendo especially california games, I love you. You are good at school. love, your little sister.” (A note she typed and printed on a dot matrix printer.)
  • “My sister is the greatest thing I’ve ever had.” (A poem to make amends, written when she was 14.)
  • And my personal favorite: “18 Golden Things About My Sister!!” (A list of 18 things she loved about me, written for my 18th birthday on December 18th.)

After a particularly rough day of third grade, I came home to my mom video taping my sister playing with the dog in the yard. I guess I snapped at her when she tried to greet me, because the video shows her cute little pig-tailed head coming up to the camera, “Mommy! Laurie called me a idiot!”

An idiot, she is not. My inspiration for this post is her natural ability to relate to Braden in ways that I am lacking. She can get him to talk about events and emotions in more detail than he shares with me. She has this way of turning every encounter into a teaching opportunity. For example, we have a list of house rules on the bulletin board. Braden and I read them out loud together most days, and I refer to the list when I need to enforce a rule.
But what does my sister do? First time she sees the list, she reads the beginning of each rule aloud, so that Braden can finish it. Then it’s all high fives every time he gets one right. Amazing!

I actually go to her for advice on how to deal with behavioral problems and discipline challenges because she simply has a knack for it.

When she does have kids of her own, I imagine they’ll either be very smart and well-behaved, or very smart and absolute tyrants in their rebellion. And I’m certain they’ll ask a lot of questions.

This Thursday, I am thankful for my sister. She is my soul mate.

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The Icing on My Divorce Cake

Posted on January 10, 2010. Filed under: divorce | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I have a pretty sweet divorce.

After five years of a fairly decent, yet disappointing marriage, Ex-Husband and I  split up.  Once I got past the brief period of post-divorce insanity and worked through the awaiting rotten emotional garbage, I was exactly where I wanted to be:  On my own, starting over, with endless possibilities! Ahh… delicious divorce.

Now, a few years later, Ex-Husband and I have a respectful relationship, that even somewhat resembles a friendship.  Braden, Ex-Husband and I all benefit from the rewards of our cooperative, drama-free co-parenting arrangement. Braden’s dad and I have both moved on and found more fulfilling relationships with new significant others, and we’re genuinely happy for each other.  It’s not uncommon to see any combination of the five of us at an event or one of our homes.  (Well, one combination is uncommon: My boyfriend and Ex-Husband’s Girlfriend alone together might raise an eyebrow…)

It wasn’t until recently that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Ex-Husband’s Girlfriend.  They have been together for a little over two years now, but she and I only just started to interact beyond a brief “hello” within the last couple of months.  I never imagined our relationship would blossom into what it has.

It began on email.  Then we exchanged digits.  Next, a dinner “date” (as Ex-Husband calls it, to poke fun at her).  We had such a great time at dinner that we sat at that table for three hours!  Did I call it dinner?  I meant to say “at bottle of wine with some food on the side.” We shared stories, laughter and even a few tears.  Going into the dinner, I was a little worried that it might be awkward — but it turned out to be anything but.

We found out that we have a lot in common, which I think was a surprise to both of us.  We also learned about our extreme differences in upbringing and adult lives.  I talked about coming to the decision to divorce and the struggles and rewards associated with that decision, and she discussed the decision to enter into a serious relationship with a single dad and the struggles and rewards associated with that.

Our dynamic is so interesting, so rewarding and so amazing that even I can’t find words to explain it or express my appreciation for it.  Because this wonderful woman has entered my son’s life with an open mind and an open heart, we have been able to spend time together on each of the last three holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Today, she, Braden and I went out to lunch and then to see The Princess and the Frog.  We had a blast!  Braden beamed with excitement the entire time.  We agreed to have these girls’ days with Braden on a regular basis.  Family takes on a whole new meaning when it’s one you choose.

Ex-Husband’s Girlfriend isn’t a mother, nor an ex-wife — so coming into our situation was a huge life adjustment.   One that I am so grateful that she committed to making.  Through my relationship with her, I’ve learned that we can find some of our most amazing blessings in the most unexpected places.   Hers are not easy shoes to be in, but she wears them so very well.

For these reasons, Ex-Husband’s Girlfriend is, without a doubt, the icing on my divorce cake!

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Overheard: Timewarp at Lauren’s

Posted on January 8, 2010. Filed under: Overheard | Tags: , , , , , , |

The “brady bits” page is where I post the funniest, cutest, smartest and most surprising things my son says (when I remember to post them before they ended up in the bottom of the brain pile).

But I hear/read/say other funny, cute, smart and surprising stuff all the time. (Yes, I said “say.”) And I’m always so tempted to share them. So I’m going to. In this series of posts called, Overheard.

It’s official.  I am the last living being without a huge flat screen TV.  I thought maybe, but decided definitely after learning that my friend’s 13-year-old son got a 36″ flat screen in his bedroom for Christmas.  I have three tube TVs in my house — one of which is a 32″ in my living room.  Shouldn’t that be good enough?  Another even has a DVD player and a VHS player in it.  C’mon!

Remember when there was some understanding that the size of your TV should be in direct proportion to the size of the room it’s in?  (Think late 80s, early 90s.)  I thought that had something to do with viewing pleasure.  Turns out — not so much.  I find much more pleasure in watching a movie or a game in 52″ High Definition while couching it four feet from the television, than I do watching it on my little tube.  Really, I compared the two.  Whomever put that idea in my head 20 years ago was either wrong, or couldn’t afford a big screen TV.  I’m just sayin…

But the oversized (or perfectly-sized, if we’re being honest) television is not on my “Must Have” list. It’s on my boyfriend’s “Lauren Must Have” list, but not mine. I don’t watch much television at all.  In fact, if it weren’t for Braden (and Doug), I’d cancel the cable.  And I can think of a million ways a thousand dollars could be put to better use (savings, vacation, The Limited, charity, the list goes on…).

I really didn’t even realize the rest of the world has one until the day I had Doug’s family over for Braden’s birthday in November.  After a brief time spent teasing me about my small, 200-pound tube TV with a grainy picture and a glare, Doug’s brother got over it.  Or so I thought.

Hours passed, and then Braden announced: “I want to play a biveo game!”  To which Doug’s brother responded: “Why don’t you ask your mommy to set up the Atari for you?”

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Thankful This Thursday: My Life

Posted on January 7, 2010. Filed under: Thankful This Thursday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Every day that passes, I become more grateful for the blessings in my life.  I haven’t always had such an appreciative spirit.  When I was a kid and into my early twenties, honestly, I think I was a bit of a brat.  And even once I had matured beyond that point, I still spent more time and energy wishing I had more than being grateful for what I had.  But over the past few years, I’ve learned to count my blessings.

What I didn’t expect, as I began to give thanks and praise, was that my blessings would multiply!  I have a very full life.  I am constantly trying to accomplish more than one person should in a given day/week/month/year.  And when I fall short, I know it’s because I have so many good things going on.

I have an awesome little kid, an amazing boyfriend, a family who I (usually) can’t get enough of and some really fantastic friendships.  I have a great job, beautiful home and food on the table.  I have hobbies and talents and passions.  I couldn’t possibly list all of the things that I’m grateful for — mostly because I’d accidentally leave things out.

So after closing on another holiday season and while opening a new year, I am feeling particularly grateful for my wonderful life.  I’ve therefore decided to share my appreciation on MLI in a weekly post called Thankful This Thursday.

This Thursday, I’m thankful for my life.  Next Thursday, I’ll be more specific.

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