Sunday, March 13, 2011

30 Rock{s}: Happy Birthday Anne

Today is a very special day.  Today marks my sweet sister-in-law Anne's 30th birthday.

When I was a fresh-from-YWAM 19-year-old and taught drama at my local Christian School (and alma mater), Anne was my very worst student.  She was a terrible, terrible actress.  I spent extra time with her after classes trying to either coax the drama out or shove the drama in - whatever might work.  Anne was a quiet, sweet girl (mostly) and - as I knew from reading my brother Paul's diaries - my younger brother's big crush.

Since it began to occur to me that Anne was likely never to star on Broadway or even just quit school and thumb her way down towards Hollywood, I decided to pull some completely unprofessional drama teacher strings and set things up to where Paul and Anne had to regularly interact with each other in key parts of our production.  (Please note: I never actually was a "professional" drama teacher.)

I was also Machiavellian enough to send another boy - who had a crush on Anne as well - in a completely different direction and therefore would have no interaction with Anne at all.  (Please note: the school did not ask me to return to teaching.)

And although Paul will not only deny ever even owning a diary, but also deny I had a hand in their budding high school romance, I think the proof is in the 19-year-old devious drama teacher pudding.  (And I'll save any further pudding proof for a possible "Happy 10 Year Anniversary Paul and Anne Please Send My Matchmaker Fee to my Child's College Education Savings Account" post.)

However it all came about, I really just want to say how very blessed I am to have gotten a sister out of the whole my-younger-brother-got-married-before-I-did deal.

I never could have imagined how very blessed I would be that my very first sister-in-law has become such a dear friend to my heart.

I never could have imagined, way back in the day when she was practicing so very hard at the part she was so very awful at - yet she kept working and working and working at it - I never could have imagined back then what a powerful and sweet force she would become in my life.

How I would watch her marry my brother and build a beautiful little home with him.

How I sat in that hospital room on that heartbreaking day when we lost our families' very first babies - how I watched her sleep and wondered at how very strong she was, this little girl in the big white hospital bed.

How I rejoiced with her when we found out that Isabella Hope would born healthy and she and Paul would finally be able to take their little baby home to that beautiful little house they'd made.

How my own daughter and Anne's second daughter Gracey would grow together as perfect playmates.

How Anne continually worked and worked and worked in her photography, studying and learning and practicing, not only building a strong, solid business that will last through the years, but creating timeless art out of the precious moments of people's lives.

How she endured personal hardship and heartbreak through the past year especially, pushing past her own hurts and disappointments and choosing to trust in and rely on God to be her Father and her advocate.

How she loves and cares for my stubborn, stubborn, tenderhearted brother.

How she has become the sister of my heart and a touchstone of joy in my life.

I never could have imagined all this of the little dark-haired girl I almost didn't notice in my drama class.

Happy Birthday, Anne.  

And by the way, 30 does rock.

This is an old picture - I wish I had a *really* old one of us when we were both younger and had bigger eyebrows (okay, that was just me).  Looks like we need more pictures together, Anne.


mrsturtlemama said...

You are a sister match made in heaven. :)

Terryl Kaiser said...

I love your and Anne's relationship. It's so sweet. So tell me more about this "Matchmaker Fee" you speak of.

Pressing on and pressing in.... said...

Well....what a loving tribute....two lovely women!

Jen Rouse said...

What a beautiful post and beautiful picture of two lovely women.

Stacey Anderson said...

Jess, this put tears in my eyes. Simply beautiful post. Also,
I would be HONORED to take some updated pictures of the two of you guys together. =)

Karen said...

What an awesome post! I learned a lot about your relationship with Anne. Happy Birthday Anne.

Sarah and the Gentlemen said...

I'm so glad that we ladies who have grown up with only brothers can enjoy the best of sisterhood later in life. :0)

heather said...

Blessed. Indeed.

Kalashnikov Clan Updates said...

awwww Jessica that was such a sweet post, shows me even more what a tenderhearted, sweet amazing person that Anne is. Thanks for bragging on her, cuz I know she would NEVER reveal that in her own words. :)
Oh and I think you are a great writer, you should write a book!