Steph + Jeff
My Little Sister’s Home in Almont, Michigan
I am going to try very hard to get through this without bawling. I make no promises. At the Altoona hospital, in an undisclosed year, I remember putting my little fingers on a glass window. The window had the wire diamond pattern in it. I was barely tall enough to see over the ledge, so I stood on my tippy toes. When I looked inside, I remember seeing you. I don’t have any other first memories of my sister because I was so young. Never in one million years will I forget the first time I saw you. You were absolutely fascinating to me. You had a hat on and you were wrapped in a white blanket. Wow, I thought. A little sister.
Growing up, we had the typical sister relationship. You annoyed me, I annoyed you. We fought, a lot. You wanted to follow me everywhere I went. At the time, I hated it. Looking back, one of my biggest regrets of my childhood was not being nicer to you. I wish I could go back and tell my 7 year old self to be nicer to you. I was so mean sometimes. There were so many laughs though. So many amazing memories that I share only with you. Riding my 4 wheeler and pulling you on a sled behind it. Making sketchy decisions on what we decided was “fun” at the time.
There was a turning point in my evil years. It was the year you got pneumonia. We had taken her to the local doctors office in Coalport several times where we were told it was just a cold. If it was just a cold, why did we find you frozen and blue on the loveseat in the morning? I will never forget what you looked like. Limp and blue in our dads arms. They rushed you to the hospital. I remember our older sister holding my arm walking me back into your room in the hospital. Instead of seeing you, this amazing little baby who I was so excited to meet, I saw you with tubes down your throat. In a coma and non-responsive. I collapsed. I remember that your lungs were both filled with fluid completely and I almost lost you.
From the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry for any and everything I ever said or did to you when we were younger. I should have loved you so much better. Love your family. The Lord does not promise us a tomorrow. I am an imperfect sister, and I have since been saved by grace. If I haven’t always been there for you, I am sorry. Ever since you moved away, I have been trying really hard to be the sister God intended for you to have. You deserve the best sister. I may not live close to you, but I will always be there for you.
We had AMAZING memories too, not just of us fighting and being sisters. Like camping in Lake Ontario, making fires in the yard, building forts and rolling each other down the hill out back in wooden cable spools. I just feel that the Lord wants me to apologize to you. This is the most personal thing I have ever posted in my life. I don’t care. I love you, you are the most amazing woman I have ever known, and I am so proud of you.
One of my favorite memories from our childhood is watching Top Gun together with dad. Was it every day? I am pretty sure it was. My love of Hollywood and pop culture was cultivated in the 1980’s. Something I remember doing as a family is watching movies. Top Gun just sticks out for some reason. We had a big juke box record player in the kitchen that had colored lights on it that flashed with the beat of the music. I remember dad dancing with me in our first house to the songs by the Righteous Brothers. It is absolutely amazing to me how a song can bring back memories in a way that NOTHING else can.
A song can take you back to a moment, a place, where you can actually feel and smell things. It truly is incredible.
So as I stand there in your home in Almont Michigan that I absolutely love, I can’t help but to think of how much it reminds me of our childhood home. The smells, the land, the love. You are so unconventional. You are not afraid to be your raw, unedited self. I love that the most about you. You swear like a sailor and you love like an angel. So to anyone that doesn’t know my sister, you could expect that she would choose something like Thunderstuck by AC/DC to walk down the aisle to. This is honestly exactly what I was expecting. LOL!
The morning was like any other morning at a wedding. Only this time, I got to be in the pictures as well as take them for you. My husband and my daughter who both assist me on wedding day with clients made it possible for me to be present at my baby sisters wedding. I am eternally grateful for that. Back in the day, I used to call you Neff. A rude, play on your name. You absolutely HATED it. However, that is now currently still what you are saved in my phone as. It is your alias, and thank you for not hating it anymore lol! It originated to annoy you, and for that I am sorry. However, it has evolved from annoyance to a place of love.
July 4 is my favorite holiday. I love that we went shopping for fireworks where Jeff is a VIP customer lol! Speaking of Jeff. What can I say? He is absolutely perfect for you in every way. You two are peas in a pod. If ever there was a guy that I imagined for you, it would be Jeff. Your relationship is very unique and unconventional but that is why I think it works perfectly for you two. I have never saw you two happier together than on July 4, 2019.
She wouldn’t tell me what song she chose to walk down the aisle to. I was expecting the shock factor. As I stood in the front of the aisle with my camera waiting for my little sister to emerge. A song came on that shot a wave of emotions through my body that I can’t even describe in words. The song took me back to a place I share only with you.
The instrumental theme song to Top Gun came on. I lost it. I ugly bawled. I almost dropped my camera. No one captured my emotional fit on camera, I wish they had. I just couldn’t function! This was the most beautiful moment I had ever experienced at any wedding. As if it couldn’t get any more emotional, the father daughter dance was danced to “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling,” by the Righteous Brothers. Dad has a bad back so he couldn’t finish the whole song. You walked over to me and grabbed me in what is probably my favorite hug in my entire life. My favorite memory of your wedding day was finishing out that dance to that song, with you.
While I could go on and on about how amazing you are, I would much rather show you in pictures how we captured your wedding day. It was a humble affair with only their closest family and friends there. It was absolutely YOU and it was absolutely PERFECT. My beautiful, tiny raven-toed Neff. I love you so much. You have no idea.