Thursday, June 02, 2011

Soul Sisters

I personally am of the strong belief that we girlies *all* have a "Soul Sister" (or two, maybe three...) in this life.  This chick just GETS YOU.  She knows what you are thinking before you even tell her.  She supports you in the PERFECT WAY at all times.  She connects with you on a deeper level than your other girlfriends, on more planes.  She is the type of person you feel like you've known FOREVER, though this may not hold true.  You can 100% be yourself, say whatever you want at ANY given moment, and you can rest assured she will not criticize you.  This relationship is the estrogen-driven equivalent of the "Brother From Another Mother" though we homegirls KNOW it's closer than what dudes share.  It's SPECIAL, yo.  SO perfect.

I like to think I have quite a few soul sisters, some old friends, some newer, but all SO very important in my life.  (I just wish some of them lived closer!!!)  I am blessed to be surrounded with caring, loving people who make my life feel complete.  THANK YOU ALL for what you bring to my life ~ you know who you are!!!

Something that has been so touching for me to see are the connections and relationships formed with our girls.  One, in particular, has floored me since day one.  These two EPITOMIZE the definition of Soul Sisters like no one else I've ever seen.  They have moved me to tears more times than I can remember, and so I wanted to give you all this tiny glimpse of pure love.

Meet Maranda, age 12, my sister's oldest daughter, my first niece, second grandchild born into our family (3 months after Cal), and Lola's one true Soul Sister.
Since Lola was born, Maranda has connected with her on a level that is difficult to explain.  I'm not even sure I have the words to describe their relationship NOW.  All I know is that no words are needed, Lola never has to walk or interact in a typical way or develop or grow much or change... Maranda has ALWAYS loved her SO DEEPLY since day one.
Maranda (blue shirt) holding Lola the day of her birth.  Maranda's twin sisters, Christina & Elisabeth, are SO proud, too, along with Cal & a VERY pissy, arching, feisty Claire.   
Lola, 2 days old, with her best buddy, Maranda, with my Mom and bro-in-law, Tom, watching on.  Lola is a little fatty in this pic!  OMG!
July 15, 2006  ~  The BFF's with Pre, Halley (we miss you, sweet girl!!!  RIP...), & Cal
5 of the 6 cousins, hammin' it up  ~  October 14, 2006
December 25, 2006  ~  So gentle... and HOLY BALLS, that is a tiny little head!!!  Damn microcephaly!  LOL
GOT IT & GOPPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!  November 18, 2007, during the thick of Lola's breastfeeding days.  Get it, girl!!!!
July 19, 2008  ~  Table Rock Lake
Ignore Lola's sunscreen chemical burn on her face... girlfriend has SENSITIVE SKIN like nobody's business!
July 27, 2008  ~  Rooting Reflex in full effect, y'all!!! 
More eczema... a constant battle for Polly Ann her first few years of life.
November 18, 2008  ~  Pump It Up Party!
One of my favorite pics *EVER* of this Dynamic Duo... xo
Christmas 2009  ~  SO much love... my heart is FULL.
Decorating Easter eggs ~ April 3, 2010 ~ double-fisting Maranda's egg, with authority!
My brother-in-law, Tom (my sister's hubby) & the Besties  ~  June 20, 2010
July 20, 2010  ~  Back at Table Rock Lake!
Maranda is one of just a handful of people not afraid to feed our Reflux Queen a bottle.  LOVE LOVE LOVE that.  <3
November 28, 2010  ~  SO HAPPY.
March 20, 2011  ~  The Six Cousins + Minnie Mouse!
On May 15th, our family celebrated Lola's 5th Birthday...
Ignore Claire's hideous dwarf sibling rivalry... it got ugly there for awhile!  HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY, MRS. POCKET!!!!!!  WE LOVE YOU!!!!!
It was at the party that I received this card for Lola from her Soul Sister... and part-way through reading it, I was promptly reduced to tears.  SO VERY FORTUNATE to be able to witness love like this...
I think it was the "every step of the way" and the "I will always love and care for you!" parts that got to me the most... and maybe it's because I KNOW what friendships like this mean.  Or maybe it is because I know that Maranda partly gets Lola because she too know what it's like to be "different."  Maranda was born with a condition called Syndactyly, which involved a webbing of two of her fingers on one hand (thumb and index finger).  While this has not slowed her down a bit in her very busy, full, accomplished life (Ummmm, can you say superstar swimmer, phenomenal musician, and a budding photographer?!  How's THAT for kickin' some ass despite a challenge!?), it was a scary situation when she was born, many tests were run to determine whether or not she had a syndrome (she didn't), and she later required a fairly extensive surgery.  Her health will be closely monitored all her life, and future surgeries may be necessary.  I honestly think that the fact Maranda knows how it feels to be judged and looked at differently has led her to be Lola's biggest cheerleader.  She UNDERSTANDS the fragility of life, how odds are defied, and the importance of making the best of each and every moment.  And for this, I am SO GRATEFUL.  I wish everyone had a heart like hers.

I am SO in awe of the young woman you have become, Maranda.  Thank you for always loving my girl(s) (and Cal!) with all your heart.  You have a gift of understanding and compassion well beyond your twelve years, and I could not be prouder that you are my niece.  I love you SO very much, as does your Soul Sister.

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same."  ~ Flavia Weedn


Josh said...

Family love is amazing, but when you have a special individual that goes above and beyond it is ever more special.

Couldnt help but notice the pics from Table Rock. We live about 4hrs from there in the St Louis area. If you are ever driving through and would like to meet another special needs family feel free to contact us.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me bawl and reminding about the dausghter I don't always see. She is soue blessed to have you as her aunt and confidant. LOVE YOU!!! You are amazing. SIS

Marc, Sarah, Luke, and Kate said...

Gwen -- It's Sarah (Koehn) Friesen....Class of 1994. A former classmate (Lisa Newman) on FB posted about your blog. So, I've been following for a bit. You write very well about your family.....That's a cool thing about your niece being a "soul sister" to your daughter.

DoRe' said...

Love it. Happy Friday!!! *Hugs*

Anonymous said...

"Brother From Another Mother" or

"Sista From Another Mista"

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