I always felt like the lucky one in my family. I was born smack dab in the middle of my family with an oldest brother, Marc. Then came my older sister, Heidi. Below me was my younger sister Tani and then the baby was Todd. I had the benefit of having access to an older brother and sister and a younger brother and sister; the best of both worlds.
I always considered my siblings my best friends. There was no one I would rather hang out with than my siblings. When we would go on vacation, our parents never let us bring friends along. Instead they encouraged us to play with and cherish one another. My mom would always tell us that friends were temporary but brothers and sisters were friends forever. It was only when we got older and had boyfriends (or my brother's girlfriends) that we were finally allowed to bring them along on our vacations.
I loved all my siblings, but as I was growing up I ADORED my older sister, Heidi!!! She was almost 3 years older than I was. I thought she was AMAZING and my idea of heaven was when she would consent to play with me
I can never remember a time growing up that I didn't want to be just like my big sister, Heidi! She was my hero. She was almost 3 years older than I was, yet I figured whatever she did I should be able to do, too. I'm sure I was the annoying little sister, always wanting to tag along and imitate everything she did. That's why an experience I had as a 6 year old has stayed with me for over a half a century!
It started on a Saturday morning. It was our family's routine to do our big chores on Saturday. That morning our mom had informed Heidi and I that we were responsible to not only clean our bedroom we shared, but to also clean out, organize and put away everything we'd stuffed under the beds and in the closet for the past month. Mom gave us strict orders that we were not to come out of the room until it was done!
It literally took most that day to complete, not so much because of the job itself, but because we ended up having so much fun doing it. I remember playing and laughing and then working a little, playing and laughing and working a little more. By late afternoon it was finally completed. To my surprise it ended up being a blast. It had been so fun to be shut up in that room with my sister for most the day.
When Mom passed inspection on the room and dismissed us, to my utter surprise and delight Heidi asked if I wanted to go with her to Molly's house and play. Now you must understand I was only 6. Heidi was 9, as was her friend Molly. I was overwhelmed that she would include me with her "grownup" friends.
Molly lived down the street from us so we walked over to her house and knocked on the door. Molly opened the door and was clearly delighted to see Heidi standing there. My eyes grew huge as I looked at Molly. She was dressed in a long grownup dress, high heels, white gloves, hat and long beads. She was playing DRESS UP!!!! That was one of my favorite things to do in the whole world!
Slowing Molly's eyes settled on me. "What's SHE doing here?" Heidi replied we were both here to play with her. Molly looked at me again and said, "Heidi you can come in, but SHE has to go home."
I was devastated. With my head hung low I turned to leave. That's when I heard the words that I've never forgotten. "If Starla can't play, then I don't want to play, either." Had there ever been sweeter words spoken than these? Heidi chose ME!! My heart filled to overflowing with love for my sister.
Molly let me stay. I remember thinking it wasn't all that fun playing dress up with Molly. But that didn't matter. My big sister had stuck up for ME!!! My love and adoration knew no bounds. She owned me then as she still does today.
I feel it was one of the Lord's greatest blessings to me to have grown up with a older sister like Heidi. Her influence and example for good was critical for me through my teenage years. She gave me courage to hold to the rod, to stay close to our parents, and not care what others thought but to always choose what was right. She was my rock! I owe her for all eternity and I adore her still!