Twenty-six years ago today I was playing at the base swimming pool with my brother and two sisters and my dad and having a good time. We were living in Hawaii. I was five years old. We were snacking on dried squid between swimming. When suddenly, Dad got paged over the loud speaker and we had to pack up everything and leave. I was really disappointed about leaving such a fun swim day until I found out that my new baby sister was on the way!
1. Rachel, you have been a great baby sister. You were just the right size for our doll strollers. We played house with you and you were always the baby. I remember sitting next to Mom singing you to sleep every night to the primary song, Oh hush thee my baby. I still remember the words.
2. I remember when you learned to sit up. I especially remember you walking. You were so tiny that you could walk directly under the dining table and not hit your head.
3. When you were almost two I took you to show and tell-- I was in first grade. Everyone thought you were so cute.
4. I remember when you were potty-training. We lived in base housing that didn't have a bathroom on the main floor. I would have to empty the potty chair. I tripped up the steps while carrying it one time and splashed some in my mouth.
5. When you were three you would scream every night when it was time to go to sleep. I would count the seconds that you were silent between cries/screams. You were very much a night-owl and just knew that you were missing out on something by going to sleep.
6. Still sharing that room, when you were about three or four, I came home from school one day to find my strawberry lip gloss smeared all over the mirror. I was so mad and Mom said, "Well, you should put your stuff away." I was even more upset when I had to clean the mirror. I never left my lip gloss out after that.
7. Mom cried a lot the day that you went to preschool. I also remember the day that you told me you kissed a boy. You and Jerilyn pinned him to the wall at preschool and kissed him on the cheek.
8. It seems in your preschool years you always had a band-aid on your chin from falling down a lot. You figured out how to use the VCR around that time too. I remember you would watch Sword in the Stone and Robin Hood over and over again.
9. For a short time, we had a babysitter named Tess. She was old and didn't have the patience for your active preschooler energy. When I would leave for school, I remember you hiding next to the bunk beds and crying. I would promise you that we'd play when I got home.
10. I taught you your alphabet when you were about four. I remember you would sing, A-B-C-D-E-F-G, H-I-K-J-emenenno P! And then you'd stop and start over because that was your favorite part.
11. When you were in first grade you got sent to after-school detention nearly daily for talking in class. You were chatty. I remember having to go pick you up after detention and the teacher would hand me a note with a very stern look. After we left the school we would laugh about it all the way home.
12. I taught you to ride a two-wheeler using Leslie's old orange banana-seat bicycle. I would sit you on the seat and have you pedal while I balanced off the back of the bike and steered it for you. Then I'd have you practice steering with my hands over your hands on the handlebars. You picked up bike riding really fast. Two days and you were a pro!
13. I remember paying you a pittance to help me deliver Friday papers to all the houses. You were excited to earn a quarter.
14. You were baptized in a swimming pool because the baptismal font was being renovated or something. I played the song, Search, Ponder, and Pray for you at the baptism at your request.
15. When you were 10 you would ask me every night to tell you stories of my life so you could go to sleep. You would tell me an age, and I'd tell you a story.
16. I was a youth camp leader the first year you went to girls camp. I remember how fun it was to share urban legends with you and your friends.
17. I remember you used to sleep with our golden-retriever Tara on the foot of your bed. I think that was from about 4 years old on.
18. I remember when it was time to wash sheets and how dirty and sandy and hairy your sheets always were because of Tara. You would dress up Tara, lay all over her, and even try to ride her. And she tolerated it.
19. I remember busting you out of school a couple times to go to lunch and then returning you in time for the bell.
20. I remember being called to school once to bring you a pair of pants because your shorts were too short.
21. I remember answering the phone just in time to blackmail you when the local school would call, "The is a recording from (Insert High School name here), informing you that your 10th grader missed one or more classes today..."
22. I remember sneaking out of the house with you in the middle of summer at midnight to go run through the sprinklers in the downtown park. We'd have to roll the car in neutral down one house and then start so Mom and Dad wouldn't wake up and suspect something.
23. I remember how much fun you had when we taught your friends to make the car fly by sticking our arms out the windows especially when turning.
24. I remember loading up water guns and driving past unsuspecting people in the summer in downtown PG and spraying them with water.
25. I remember taking you to college once when I was registering for new classes and you getting hit on by all the Freshmen boys.
26. I remember bringing you home from Ricks (now BYU-Idaho) with Dad and nearly being killed by several semis when we slid out of control.
Rachel, I didn't realize how many memories I have and how much in trouble we might be when Mom and Dad read this. hahaha. But I wanted to say I love you and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!