Today is my little sister's birthday. Not my baby sister, but the second youngest, Karen. She'll be eleven this year, and I can hardly believe it. I think back to 1996 and what was going on at the time, and it doesn't seem like eleven whole years have passed since then! I was fifteen when she was born, and was in the tenth grade. Stephen (my brother) and I took piano lessons, and I remember Karen used to love sitting in her little bouncing seat beside the piano while we practiced. Both she and Sarah now play piano themselves, and love it. They are very good at it, and it amazes me how easily they've picked it up. I guess the creative/artsy talent that runs in Mom's side of the family is showing itself.
We spoiled that kid to death! She was another redhead, so she and Stephen have always had a special bond. She was the sweetest baby you'd ever meet - not that I was biased. She has always been the social butterfly, and the sing-song creative one. She loved listening to music, dancing (dad used to dance in the kitchen with her), and always got tons of attention wherever we went.
Karen's compassion is unparalleled. She has always been sensitive to everything around her. She used to cry at sad movies and shows. We had to fast forward through parts of "Lady and the Tramp" for a while because she would start crying when she saw the puppies and dogs in the pound. To this day, she is so compassionate, she will start tearing up when someone else is sad.
Karen is a huge blessing to our family, and to anyone around her. I still remember when she was around 3, she went through this phase of asking people, "Do you know God?" Mom and Dad were trying to teach her that some people know God and some people don't, and she just started asking people. It was adorable, and completely endearing. She was our little evangelist. And every now and then, you could tell God used her to ask the right person, to get them thinking. You never expect something like that out of such a young kid.
When Karen was dedicated, several people said that she would be a peace-maker. To this day, she has lived up to that. She can't stand disagreement and tension, and will do whatever she can to stop it. It works hand-in-hand with her compassion. It's amazing to see God in her, and how he works through her. People are always complimenting my mom on both of my little sisters, and how different they are. It's so obviously God in them.
Karen's now in the fifth grade and going to her first year at private school. My mom says it's been quite a transition, and she's had a hard time with her social tendencies. Something tells me that she'll level out and thrive there though. If anything, hopefully she'll be that evangelistic influence while there.
Karen is so special, and I hate that we've had to miss out on this last year of her and Sarah's lives. I can't wait to go back home and see them. I have learned so much through those girls, and I'm certain that God has used them in my life in many ways. If anything, I understand a little more the heart that a mother has for her children. Even though they're not mine, I can only imagine the love I will have for my own children, just based on the special place in my heart that those two have.
Happy Birthday Karen! I love you!