Being only a year apart, I do not remember life without Diana. I’ve heard stories of when she was a baby and I was a… well, a baby myself. I know I was excited to have a baby sister from day 1. Even though she was my BABY sister, it never felt like she was younger than me. It always felt more like we were twins. We loved matching our clothes, putting on dance and theatrical and musical productions, playing Batman and Robin, and pretending that our own room was actually an apartment… our parents were other tenants and the van was actually a bus we caught to get around town. We have one memory that is very fond. We had guests staying at our house, and during the day, the air mattress was stored upright against our closet. We had a bunk bed and had the amazing idea to lean the mattress at an angle against the bed with one of us standing underneath as support, and then we could take turns sliding down the mattress as a slide! I’m guessing we were probably a little loud in our excitement because my dad came in as I was underneath and Diana was sitting on the top. He asked what we were doing… and without hesitation, we both answered in unison, “We had to move the mattress to get into the closet.” He stared at us for awhile… we stared back. Then he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Oh ok!” as he walked out of the room. We BURST into a fit of giggles. As we grew older we continued to do a lot together and slowly our separate groups of friends became one group of friends. When it came to competition and dividing into teams we always did our best to get on the same team because, as our friends can attest, it was almost an unfair advantage. Sometimes we even split into teams: the B girls vs. everyone else.
Chris was a part of our joint group of close friends. He has been apart of my life for nearly half of it! We started out as close friends: talking on the phone a few times and exchanging letters while he was in Korea, and then speaking on the phone weekly while he was in Iraq. Though we did have a rough patch, I can say that we had forgiven and moved on and we were family at the end. I am so glad that whatever it was we were at odds about was resolved before "The Accident"... I can't imagine having that anger towards him and not being able to talk to him and make amends. He was my brother. My favorite memories are watching him interact with Missy. If she wanted him to take her potty, he took her. If she wanted him to tie her shoes, he tied them. I can still see them hand in hand, walking through the National Air and Space Museum. She loved her Uncle Chris and he loved and doted on her too. The last text conversation we had was right after they found out they were pregnant with Ethan. I asked him how he was doing and if he was excited. From the family provider’s perspective, he was nervous but knew it would all work itself out. But he also said that he was excited for Diana because she was SO excited. He loved her so much and just wanted her to be happy! He soon became just as excited as she was to welcome a new son into their family.
Diana and I were close in age and we loved it growing up, so we decided that we, too, would have children close in age. Being that we reached child-bearing age at the same time, we were pregnant together, having babies together, and raising our families… together.
Sam was like Diana. He was sweet and quiet and nurturing. He even wanted to be an animal doctor “just like Mommy.” The first time he saw Missy, he was so excited and loved her. They were best friends. When Missy saw something she knew he likes, like the iron man mask in Target or the life sized Power Ranger at Hollywood Studios, she would ask to take a picture and show Sam. And he always did the same thing for her. When she filled her pee-pee and poo-poo sticker charts, he sent her a video congratulating her. Whenever they would FaceTime or Skype, they would spend much of the time just sitting with huge silly grins on their faces, just staring at each other.
Connor was vivacious and goofy and loud. The dynamic and noise level in their home definitely changed when Connor came along. He and Bub were closer in age than Sam and Missy, and it seemed like their goal in life was to make the other cry first. They never tried to hurt each other, but they sure knew how to push each other’s buttons. Those two would have been trouble together as they got older, scheming against the rest of us. I’m sad that Bub will never get the chance to be as close to Connor as Missy was with Sam.
None of us got the immense pleasure of meeting Ethan in person. All I know is that Squishy liked to bounce.
Psalm 139:13-16 now sounds to me as if Ethan spoke it himself, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” I can’t wait to meet him one day. I also can’t wait to see Diana again. We have this connection… our own language… we just get each other. I will forever miss her. A part of me went with her.