Monday, February 28, 2011

My Sister Terri

Terri's family. Forty-two strong and still growing!

My sister Terri just had a birthday. After reading her commemorative blogpost, I just knew I needed to share part of her life here as well.

She wrote:

"In October of 195x when I was 2 years old, my father dropped me off at the Clark's house to attend Joan's 3rd birthday party. I still remember the day very well. Little did I know that was the day Joan and I would become "Sisters". I waited and waited after all the other little kids went home from the party, but my dad never came for me. It was decided without explaining it to the 2-year-old that since my mother was very ill and could not care for me, I would live a mile away with the Clarks. My Aunt Verona, who I thought was the most beautiful lady I knew, put me to bed that night in the twin bed next to Joan. That was the beginning of many years of nights together giggling in our beds and cooking up trouble, and being partners in crime and fun times."

Whenever I hear that story I cry. Terri's mother was diagnosed with MS when Terri was only 2 and a half years old. Unable to care for her children, Terri was sent to live with Verona (her mother's sister) and her younger brother, Randy, went to live with my dad's sister Emily. Later when another sibling, Ruth, was born, she went directly home from the hospital to Emily's house as well.

Terri lived with the Clarks until she was seven.That is when our father married my mother. A year later, I was born.

From as early as I can remember, I admired Terri and wanted to be like her. She didn't like raisins, so I didn't like them. She wouldn't eat peas, so I wouldn't eat them either.

Unfortunately I never developed any of her wonderful talents.

I am pretty sure Terri can do anything. She is an amazing seamstress. That is doubly impressive to me since I can't sew anything other than a (sort of) straight line. One year, while serving as Relief Society President, she made pioneer bonnets for all the women in her ward to wear while they participated in a service project to commemorate the pioneers. That same year my daughter needed a bonnet. Since I didn't know how to sew, Terri made it for me--in about 20 minutes.

Last year for Christmas she made 28 quilts, she works as a realtor, cooks like a professional chef, decorates like a professional designer, and is a mother to 8 and grandmother to an ever increasing list of grandchildren. She is a great mother who has kept her family close to her. Most of her children live in Salt Lake and twice a month they get together for dinner. (And I am so very jealous of that!!) And every October they meet in St. George while most of the adults in the family run the marathon.

For the past five years she and her husband have served as directors of the inner city mission in Salt Lake City. They have put in countless hours training other missionaries, raising money for scholarships, putting together education classes and in every other way possible, helping the poor.

They have had struggles and set backs, but through them all, they have kept moving forward. And through it all, she has been my mentor and friend. Terri is the one sibling I have who responds to my family updates. When I am frustrated, she is the one I turn to. When I am mad or upset, or want to share something fun, she is the one I write.

And when my daughter got married a couple years ago in Utah, followed by a reception in Arizona, Terri drove by herself to Arizona to spend the day helping me decorate, attended the reception, and the next day drove back home.

And so it is always with a full heart I think of her. How grateful I am to have her in my life!!

Happy Birthday Terri!!
Thanks for bringing so much . . . joy to my journey!


Cherie said...

You are SOOOO very blessed to have Terri for a sister. She sounds like such a wonderful person. It actually brought tears to my eyes to read about all the service she gives and all she is able to accomplish.
Thank you for sharing her story and your story too.

Also - The picture is amazing - What a wonderful posterity!

Dixie Mom said...

What an amazing person! She deserves a great birthday tribute.

NatureGirl said...

What a great picture! Amazing what two faithful people can do....

Julie said...

Look at all those smiles! What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful sister.

Momza said...

Just lovely.
Happy Birthday, Terri!

Lisa @ Pulsipher Page said...

What an awesome sister! Her life of hardship and service are inspiring.

Roger and LeAnn said...

Wow, that was an incredible tribute to you sister. I never had a sister myself; so I have dear friends that I feel like are sisters and have helped me through some tough moments. Loved the picture of the family.
We just were just called on a Intercity mission her in Salt Lake. We don't have our assignment yet; but are looking forward to the experience.
Blessing sto you!

Emma T said...

What a blessing to have a good sister. I have all brothers and always wished I had a sister as well. Of course now I have SIL's that I love, but I don't think it is quite the same.

Heidi said...

Sisters like that are a blessing, for sure!

justmeagain said...

I love the picture of her family!! Wow! I bet they have a great time at family gatherings!

It was fun to read about all of her accomplishments. She sounds like a wonderful woman. Although I am sure you have at least some of her good traits/talents as well.

Terri said...

Oh my gosh I am so embarrassed. I think the only thing amazing is that when you get to bloging you can make anything sound good! Thanks so much for the tribute, and leaving out the parts about what a ding-dong I really am! There seems to be a lot of people who agree you're a great writer! i think you're wonderful and I think I am the one that is blessed to have you for a sister!

Kristin Klein said...

What a great woman, I stand in awe also! But I see you have many of her talents - they must have rubbed off!


Handsfullmom said...

Thank you for sharing that wonderful story. How sad about Terri's mother.