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Growing up, strangers and even friends would always say “wow, your sister is so beautiful.” I would quickly correct them to say “no, that’s my mom!” My mom just soaked up the comments with a huge smile, and we would look at each other and laugh. As time went on, I felt incredibly lucky to have a mom so close in age to me - a short 16 years of life. No doubt, she had to persevere, sacrifice, and grow up incredibly fast. By the age of 20, she had moved from the west coast to the east coast with me, a 4 yr old show-off called Jolly Jennifer sporting black cowgirl boots, and a spunky little pig-tailed bundle of joy, my little sis, Melanie, who was 1 at the time. Away we go, arriving in NC, my beautiful, vivacious young mom at 20. My mom was probably nervous, but she sure didn’t show it. She grew strong and confident very quickly. In fact, she worked full-time jointly raising my sister and I, and worked her way through the ranks quickly to General Manager of a local full-service hotel. Not too long after moving to NC, she gave birth to a baby boy! My little brother, Derek, the little guy who would run and jump off to the highest ledge, karate chop you when you aren’t looking, and the biggest daredevil in our big circus of siblings. Yes, we have more siblings to come, but at the time, we had no idea how our lives would be forever changed by another sibling, 23 years to our future! You’ll have to stay tuned to our blog of family ties and adventures to hear more. Anyway, back to the story. Our house is loud, but a strong family home. I’m stealing all the attention; remember I told you how I was the show-boat? I always wanted my parents approval, always trying to keep my sister and brother in line. I’m the oldest, and so I think it’s a rite of passage somehow. A test to my resilience and strength! Yes, my younger siblings tested my patience and sanity. My sis Melanie, who I nicknamed “Melny”...say her nickname out loud- it has the best ring to it! I tend to take 3 syllable words and make them 2 ... it’s a southern thing, I think. Time goes on, my mom is raising 3 teenagers, working outside the home, attending our sporting, or dance or band events and competitions, cooking, cleaning, and still she looks so young! Fast forward to me at 17, my sis Melny is 14, and my brother Derek is 12. My mom, well, she is the ripe old age of 33. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but what a compliment now looking back to all those that have said, “wow, is that your sister?” and my reply is still to this day, “no that’s my mom!” Everywhere we go together, there is someone that will ask that. We still get a chuckle out of it. I know without a doubt, we will grow old together, and the laughs will keep coming. I also know that each of my siblings has their own memories and special bond with our mom, but with me being the oldest, we will always have “is that your sister?” kind of bond. Stay tuned....


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