Finally, a birthday gets written about on time! That is, if I get this done today. If not…well…oops.

Dear Abby,

I know you have much more of a chance of reading my blog than Riley, so I’ll be careful about what I say. First of all, Happy Birthday! I can’t believe you are 11 already! Time flies, by the way, Abby, in case you hadn’t already noticed. Eleven is sort of a scary age. Scary in the sense that all of a sudden, you’re more than a decade old! Wow, that seems really old, doesn’t it? Another reason why it’s scary is because now you only have nine more years before you’ll be 20! But don’t worry. By the time you’re 20, I’ll be almost 25, so I’ll still be older than you. Phew! I bet you almost thought that you were going to beat me to 30! But you won’t.

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I still remember the day you were born. (Or rather the next morning.)

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The night before, Brittany and I had been playing hide-and-seek with our dolls. I would hide mine, and Brittany would have to find it. Then Brit would hide hers, and I would have to find it. And back and forth. Well, we ended up going to bed before I found Brittany’s, and the first thing we did the next morning was run downstairs and try to find it. (Turns out that Brittany had forgotten where she’d hidden it, so we were both searching high and low for it.) After a long time, we decided to ask Dad if he knew where it was. He said that he didn’t know where it was, but did we want to see another kind of dolly? We said yes, and he brought us into Mom’s room where you were laying in your little crib. I think you were probably my favorite doll ever! (Well, one of the main reasons I liked you was because you had more hair than any of my dolls…but that’s beside the point.)

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That’s the family you joined eleven years ago. Crazy, awesome family, if I do say so myself.

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Yes, you were a cutie.

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There you are when your hair was more blond than brown.

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That was a typical “Abby face” when you were young.

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In case you forgot, you absolutely loved cotton candy when you were little.

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There you are, in the Northwoods, riding Uncle Buck’s horse, Nevada.

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And that was at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois. We went there often, and some of our favorite stops were the giraffes and the elephants. Here you are by the giraffe pen.

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I can’t believe you were only just turning three in that picture! You look so much older!

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A sly one, you were! [A very cute sly one…]

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Awwwwwww.

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The three sisters.

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Easter Sunday. I think that smile looks more like a grimace. Was it because those shoes were pinching your toes or because you just didn’t feel like having your picture taken? He, he…I think you know which one.

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You always were strange. It’s a true shame that I don’t have pictures of you with the infamous brown, curly wig on. And it’s also a true shame that you’re hardly ever strange in front of the camera, like the boys. Otherwise I could post tons of silly pictures of you. As it is, I only have one…

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From these pictures, any outsider would think that you were sorely lacking in ability to compete with the rest of us for the Silly Of The Year award…but they don’t need to fear, my dear sister, for at times you can be sillier than the rest of us put together!!! I think you know what I mean. And just to let you know, Sister Dear, I was tempted to post the video of you laughing your head off for no apparent reason, but I didn’t. (Before you go and think that I’m a wonderful sister, I must warn you…the only reason that video didn’t get posted is because it got deleted somehow. Do you know anything about that?)

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And just so that you don’t think that I’m entirely mean and unthoughtful, I’ll include a few pictures that have me in them. Ones I’d rather not have out there for all the world to see, but I’ll do it to prove that I do have some empathy.

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Please tell me you don’t remember this. But if you do, I’ll kindly inform you that it was your own fault these pictures got taken. It was your idea.

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And, in case you don’t remember this picture that was taken without either of us knowing, we were drying off on Grandma’s roof after swimming in the pond. The leaves on our faces were to shield the sun. *sigh* So I know we looked ridiculous (even you can’t deny that!), but why did Brittany have to go and take a picture? In other words, this picture isn’t my fault, either. It’s Brittany’s. Entirely Brittany’s fault.

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And since I showed the picture of us on the roof after we swam, I might as well show a picture of before. One that doesn’t have me in it.

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And there you are, in the middle of a Christmas wreath, reading a book. Well, nobody ever said that the Bergen girls weren’t bookworms!

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Branson, Missouri. As if you didn’t know. Ah, good memories.

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Speaking of good memories, remember Outlaw Run, the wooden roller coaster in Silver Dollar City? Of course you do. I love reminding you of the time you rode that roller coaster six time in a row and got sick.

Oh, I do wish I had a picture of you with that brown curly wig! It’s not like you’ve never had it on, or anything, it’s just that — once again — you were too camera-shy to get your picture taken. I guess I’ll have to sneak a picture sometime.

And on that note, I must now take my leave. Two pieces of advice for you, before I close.

1). Never be a baby hog. Ever.

2). Always, ALWAYS obey your older sisters [me in particular]. Remember, this is a very important piece of advice. One that you may have to live the rest of your life on.

I also want to remind you that I’m still fast enough to chase you around the room and still big enough to sit on you.

And I also want to thank you. For the many “Get Well” cards and “Happy Birthday” cards you’ve showered upon me. For the many times you and I have spent many happy hours together. For the way you can dream [almost] as big as I can. For the way you listen to my stories and add little bits and pieces of your own. For the way you can reach out to others and make them happy. For the places we’ve gone and the things we’ve done, even if most of them are in our imaginations. For the times we played games that were too sophisticated for you and too childish for me, but still enjoyed them anyway. For the times you’ve made me laugh, even when I didn’t want to. For the notes you write to me during school time.

For the times you’ve relinquished your will and watched the movie I wanted to watch. For the times when we’ve both laughed hysterically over absolutely nothing. For the hours we spent recording ourselves singing The Star Spangled Banner. For all of the little talks we’ve had. For the times we made up a dance to go with “Lou, Lou, Skip to my Lou” and sung it breathlessly while we twirled around the room. For the way we would play games late at night when we were supposed to be sleeping. (Maybe I shouldn’t thank you for that, but I do. We made memories late at night when the whole house was asleep…memories I’ll keep forever.) For the impromptu tea parties and unexpected cookie-baking days. For the movies we’ve made together, and the whole day we spent preparing to make a movie and then decided we couldn’t possibly finish it. It was the memory that counted, not the movie.

For the time we danced in the hallway at night when the little boys were all supposed to be settling down. They came out and danced with us, and we made a memory. For the times we used to dress up and play “orphanage”. For the moments when we were mad at each other, but an accidental silly face making it all right again. For the times you’ve apologized to me first. For the times when we’d exchange secret signals in Awana, and no one else knew what we were saying. For the times I spent reading you books before you learned how to read yourself. For the times when I thought the day couldn’t get worse, and you agreed with me. For the times you’ve blurted out something totally random and leave the rest of us wondering where it came from. For the day you laughed with me when I dumped a toad into someone’s water glass. For the times we exchanged stories of our most embarrassing moments. For those moments when nobody could understand us, except for us. And for the moments when even we ourselves can’t understand what we do.

We really are a lot more alike than either of us care to admit. Maybe that’s why sometimes we don’t get along very well. Maybe that’s why you can always tell what to do to make me smile. Maybe that’s why I can help you with your multiplication tables when everyone else has given up. And maybe that’s why you think you can help me with my multiplication tables when I’ve given up. Maybe that’s why I can often tell what you’re thinking, just by the way you move or by your eyes or the way you hold your chin. Maybe that’s why we both cry during Old Yeller and The Red Fury. Maybe that’s why I say something and you say, “Oh yeah, that’s just what I thought!” or you say something and I say, “Hey, my thoughts exactly!”

Maybe that’s why we’re both baby hogs.

All that to say…life would have been incredibly different without you. An incredibly sad kind of incredibly different. And I am thankful that God gave you to me, to my whole family. I’ve suddenly realized that I’ve only begun to count the ways God has blessed me through you. And before I go, I want to say something.

Several LOOOOOOONG paragraphs ago, I said that I had simply two pieces of advice to give you before I logged off. Heh, heh. If this tells you anything, after my two pieces of advice, exactly 687 words spilled out onto the page to tell me how much I’ve been blessed by you.

So.

Happy Birthday! May this year be the BEST EVER! (Besides the years to come, of course.)

Your sister,

Kaitlyn M. Bergen

P.S. Nope…didn’t get this one finished on time either…a whole day late! Well, the next birthday is mine, so soon I will write again to tell myself happy birthday. Maybe that one will be on time.

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