I’m not sure how they became known as “the girls,” but Tricia and Tiffany have kept the title. It’s who they are together. They are a force to reckon with and a reason to celebrate life.
I’ve always loved Tricia’s protectiveness over her little sister; she often wrapped her arm around her, making sure Tiffany was okay. And. She continues to be protective of Tiffany, wanting all things to work out in the best way for her. That said, we often tell the story when Tricia, age two, told my dad she loved Tiffany. Dad stopped what he was doing, saying, “Well, that’s wonderful.”
Tricia responded, “My mommy said I have to love her.”
It’s true. I told her she had no choice but to love Tiffany after she realized her space was occupied by another human being. She had been the only child, the only grandchild, and the only niece; it was a little like being royalty, a position worth defending. But. There was more for her to experience . . . a sister . . . and a decade later, a brother and cousins.
In the end, we all need to learn how to share our space with others, extending our love, and celebrating one another. It’s an ongoing process.
Along the way, we found different ways to help the girls to live together, celebrating one another.
We developed the infamous and classic “MY WEEK.”
For one week, one of the girls would be considered a really big deal. And. Tim was also given a week when he came along a decade later. The calendar on the refrigerator highlighted each week of the month with the name of the really big deal of the week, which meant:
- You have first choice of all the choices to be made.
- Your accomplishments are featured.
- You are celebrated.
- You are a really big deal.
“My week” provided a venue to support, encourage, and celebrate one another. The idea was to help us to make sure each one had their turn at being focused on and celebrated as well as to help prevent one of the girls feeling “less than” the other, reducing jealousy and conflict over who had the first choice to do something. And. The Really Big Deal, the Royalty of the Week, knew if she took advantage of the other one that the next week could be miserable as the other sister “one-upped” her. Each of the girls soon realized the next week would be hers to reign, so, they waited for it.
I would like to say they waited patiently; however, I often heard them talk about how they would take over their world when the week belonged to them.
Or they would say:
“I’m sorry . . . did you think I could do that . . . hmmm . . .it is, after all, MY WEEK.”
Though “My WEEK” worked well, there were obviously some pitfalls to the process; however, I routinely spend time with people that either do not feel celebrated or regret they did not celebrate a specific individual. Either way, a portion of what really matters has been missed. The thing to remember is that God celebrates every individual as a “prized possession.”
Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession (James 1: 17-18, NLT).
Celebration of one another as a prized possession makes a difference in our health and wholeness as a family.
I look back and see the girls’ world was more about celebration than anything else. Each day was a gift. Years ago, when the girls were in their early adult time period, they claimed they misunderstood that true reality did not include a daily party and wondered, if, they should’ve been more prepared for their rude awakening. My reply:
Everyone should be so fortunate.
I say we need to live every day as a party as much and as often as possible! And, when all is said and done, they need to deal with the fact they have a mom who loves to celebrate. It’s who I am. I don’t have much mercy on this issue. It is what it is.
One of my favorite moments with the girls (and Tim) was to greet them as they woke up. I will admit, as they grew older, the girls became somewhat irritable over my extreme cheerfulness. Even so, it didn’t deter me. I would open their curtains with great gusto, singing as loud as possible–which, for you to know–I don’t sing; however, I felt compelled to sing Psalm 118:24 each morning:
“This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad!”
And, then, I would take a moment with them, telling them I was glad and grateful to be a part of their day. The point for me, even when they groaned and rolled over, wishing I would go away, was to help them understand the gift of the day and how they were part of it.
I think we take the day for granted all too easily, losing sight of the gift of time, which comes straight from the heart of God.
Of course, the girls enjoyed demonstrating what their morning was like when I came into their room to greet them. One of them would play the part of mom, which in my perspective was quite exaggerated, and the other would demonstrate the victim of my morning greeting. I laughed at their staged drama, but would say, “Whatever. You know you love it. When you’re the parent you can do it differently and enjoy your children’s response.”
And, promptly after saying it, I felt like I had become my parents.
The legacy of seeing the gift of the day comes from my parents. They were big on saying that it mattered how we spent our time, especially when it came to our attitude. Of couse as a teenager, I smiled and agreed, with a sarcastic “whatever” in my spirit. I thought I had all the time in the world; however, I learned how quickly it comes to an end when I began experiencing the pain of family and friends dying seemingly way too soon.
I’ve learned we need more days of celebration with a determination to spend less time focused on the stuff. There’s a renewal of gratefulness when we celebrate what was, what is, and what will be. It’s not that we are unaware of the pain and suffering of this world when we celebrate. But.
Celebration is a recognition that life is a gift even when we experience challenges and hardship.
Celebration is a great way to focus on what really matters in life . . . doing life together.
Both Tricia and Tiffany live their days in a different manner; however, they both celebrate it as a gift. No one will argue that they have completely different personalities. I learned from the very beginning, Tricia wanted to know everything about the day, she wanted a plan, detailed each hour on the hour. What we were doing did not matter as much as how we planned to get it accomplished. But. Tiffany was overwhelmed by the list of details for the day. She wanted to experience one thing at a time and not worry about what came next.
When we took walks, Tricia wanted to know where we were going, how far it would be, how long it would take, and when we would be back. Tiffany did not want to know anything but that we were going on a walk; she would stop along the way, picking little dandelions out of the cracks of the sidewalks, interested in how something could grow out of the cement, unaware of her sister’s frustration. Tricia was intent on accomplishing the goal and definitely not interested in the weeds. Tricia was all about celebrating the victory of doing what she set out to do. Tiffany wanted to throw a little party to celebrate the yellow flower-weeds.
I’ve often thought how their differences have balanced us out. We need to live the day both ways. . . to develop a purposeful plan, to formulate goals, refusing to be distracted by the little things . . . but we also need to stop and enjoy the moment. Either way, it’s about celebrating the gift of the day.
We discovered after many days of tears that life was easier when they wore the same thing. Little sister wanted to be like big sister. I will say, Tricia enjoyed the power of adoration. There were many occasions Tiffany did her own chores as well as Tricia’s chores. Why? Tricia told her to do it. I know. It was unusual. And. It ran it’s course, ending abruptly. There was no warning that change would come so quickly. When Tiffany entered fourth grade, she said, “no” to Tricia. She had never said it to her. Tricia had told her to empty the dishwasher. But. Tiffany said, “NO.”
You would have thought World War III had broke out. It was unexpected and wrong as far as Tricia was concerned. Well, who wouldn’t be upset?
Even so, the change was good for the girls; they both needed to discover who they were, to celebrate their individuality, and to find a way to encourage one another to be who they are created to be. It’s a process; however, they’ve accomplished it with great love for one another. I celebrate each time I hear them say to each other, “I love you.”
A billion little moments with the girls have made life sweet. The girls give me reason to throw a party each day. Yes, girls, I said each day. So. Celebrate!
More later . . . Kerrie