I’ve always been second. I am the second child, but that’s only part of it. I was the second to graduate college, I was the second to marry, but also the second to do a flip on the trampoline. That is what happens when you grow up with Katie as your older sister.
I can do a flip on the trampoline because I watched her do one first. I can run a mile because of her, because she taught me how to run. Without Katie I might not be married.
I love having an older sister. Katie was born on March First, 1982 and without her taking the lead I wouldn’t be the man I am today. One of my favorite pictures from when I was a baby is of her holding me.
I don’t remember her being an older sister who held my hand, but she would almost always include me in on her fun. Like in our backyard in Tulsa when we would turn on the sprinkler and jump on a slip-n-slide trampoline. It’s amazing that neither of us ever hurt ourselves on that thing. But just like any brother and sister injuries did happen and things were not always perfect.
Katie, or Katheryn as we called her when I was little, didn’t always share her friends. She was real good at suggesting I play with my own friends. This mentality lasted through my middle school years. Maybe she was just challenging me to be a good friend to others, like other people than her. Despite her insistence that I play with my own friends, she became one of my best friends. That’s probably because Katie was a big sister who always helped calm my fears especially when we lived in a dark basement here in Colorado. At age four I constantly saw monster tall shadows that reached down from the windows at night, but I knew I was safe because my big sister’s room was next door.
When we moved to Illinois, she helped me build forts and shared a disgust of the egg stench that came from our water. Katie has never been shy of sharing her feelings and when she first saw our new home she cried. She did not cry when we moved to Tulsa. She has always been strong and that strength motivates me to live in wisdom and courage.
Katie has always been great at offering that wisdom. Sometimes that would drive me crazy. Like at the Kirk on Christmas Eve, when she continually attempted to correct my public speaking. I was reading the story of Christ’s birth and about to light the Christ candle when she tried to correct me. “Katheryn,” I cried. “I know what I am doing.” I dropped the match and the carpet lit on fire. Laughter erupted and burned through the audience. I burned with anger, but now I know she was offering her wisdom and leadership. She only wanted me to perform well.
Katie has always had a good eye for houses and during our early years in Tulsa, she taught me how to explore them. Our neighborhood was new and as the empty lots behind our house turned into model homes we would go and explore them. We are both still fascinated by beautiful homes. Our friendship grew even though we fought. She taught me never to kick back at a girl even if that girl is stronger than you and is currently beating you up because she will tell our parents. Maybe I started to eat healthily and workout so that I couldn’t be beat up by my older sister. I am grateful no matter what!
Katie’s good eye led her to Michael. Her marriage with her husband, Michael, has taught me immensely. It has set an awesome example of how I need to love April. Watching them grow in their relationship has taught me how to love and pursue April. I love how she loves him and her kids. Michael has a real-estate company and it does not surprise me that Katie helps him explore for new houses. As we explored she provided love and a listening ear. She challenged me to keep my eyes open to all God has for me and this challenge led me to April.
She has trusted me with her kids which has fostered a true friendship to grow between me and them I think I would be lost if I didn’t have an older sister. I’m thankful that she has paved the way. First in birth. First in marriage. First in kids of her own. And first in correcting me when I have remembered something incorrectly. And I love her dearly for the sister and the friend she is to me.