Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Not everyone has a sister like Alice-Anne

I ran my fingers across the soft black and white photo I picked up from lying in the corner my high school journalism classroom.

It was a typical school picture. The 90's puffy hair era was unforgettable and quite regrettable. Those fluffy bangs were like a rolling ocean wave above her forehead. I wondered how long did it take for the curling iron to singe them perfectly into shape. Or the ounces of hair spray to glue them together.  I couldn't avoid the shades of her over-used cheap purple eye shadow that was most likely applied incorrectly. Her braces. Did she think the same thing I did while in high school? Whoever escaped adolescence without braces was easily considered a goddess. Despite all of societies description of imperfection, I thought she was beautiful. And not just because she was my sister.

Meet Alice-Anne. She has a personality to match the uniqueness of her name. And a smile to match the goodness of her heart. Her high school fashion has since died, and now fancies in making homemade yogurt, having to-do lists, and goal lists to last a century, and giving every second of attention to her three high-energy children.

Even though she towers twelve years above me, her name, service, speech competition poise and journalism charm left a legacy on my high school. Twelve years later I was still walking in her footsteps in the journalism field, the mission field, and the BYU field.

Now, I still walk in her shadow in the field of life. And I plan to stay there.

Individual memories with Alice-Anne are fewer, considering she was exiting high school when I was entering kindergarten, but i'll always remember one afternoon conversation over a nice clean up of dishes. I was five and stubborn. I walked around like a queen with the 'show-only-not-to-be-used' quilt drag behind me on the kitchen floor. I unloaded the dishwasher. Knife for knife, spoon for spoon. She rolled her eyes I am sure. I made some terse comment to my other sister, Julia, who sat right above me in the hiearchy. That was me thinking I was so clever. Yet, I was wrong. Alice-Anne, being my mother in that moment, squared my shoulders and straightened me up. She wasn't happy. Okay, she had a right to be. She grabbed my hand, pulled me down the stairs and talked to me. Really talked to me.

In a matter of minutes, my sister had extracted me from my world of demanding and commanding. I was the master of that house--I reined with my five year old status. But here I was, sentenced to sit on the couch to listen to her lecture--which was quite good--she persuaded me to change my behavior within minutes of talking to me--no wonder she won the Oregon State Speech Competition.

I sucked on my thumb as she spoke. That my was security. I sucked my right thumb raw. Her words asked me to stop being so rude to my sister--which I could've have done just by doing so silently in my head. But her action showed such great love and concern, it brought about a change I wanted to make in my heart.

She told me the terms, and we made an agreement. I was to never talk so brutally to my sister again (oops, sorry Julia!). To make matters official, she asked that we shake on it. I looked at her outstretched hand. I looked back at my saturated sucked thumb, and smiled, "I really doubt you want to shake this," dangling my thumb high in the air.
"Good point," she said with a smirk.

I switched fingers, "How about just a pinky promise."

Thank you, Alice-Anne.

(this post was not exactly humorous but I think it fit for my mood tonight)


  1. What a sister! She seems like a saint in every way. Kind of like my mother, but my mother never made homemade yogurt. It seems like if you make homemade yogurt you make homemade everything else. Does she make homemade bread, jam, cheese etc.?

  2. I love your story! It reminds me of me being an older sister, now I realize what I put my poor sister through. I hope that she can have an insight like you did in this post.