My Sis...

Friday, June 6, 2008

This is Beezo. She's one of my four kid sisters, the one that is four years younger than me. She is the tallest. She is the most sarcastic. She is the best debater. She is an unbelievable cook. She is great to have on your Trivial Pursuit/Cranium/Celebrity team. She is an avid reader, movie watcher, TV show junkie. She has a degree in psychology. She is deeply loyal. She knows what to say when she listens to your problems. She is self-deprecating to the extreme. She is hilarious. And she is one of the most important people in my entire life.

And last week, she started an incredible, challenging, life-changing job Iraq.

My kid sis. In Iraq.

Just last week, she was still living four blocks away from me, a stroller walk away. A trip to the cupcake shop away. A movie away. But this job offer came into her path, and she and her roommate Kathy applied for and got it. Something about reconstruction/engineering/blah blah blah. So in a whirlwind of applications, immunizations, physicals, and background checks, within a month of applying for this job, Beckie has been whisked away to a small military base in northern Iraq to spend a year trying to make a little difference. Kathy, too.

They'll live on a military base, but do a civilian job. Their room and board is paid for, so the money they'll make (and it is a sizable chunk) is basically money in the bank. During their year, they'll get two different 2-week R&R breaks, where the company will pay for a trip wherever they want to go. Oh, and though they applied together, and got the job together, the two close friends have been sent to two different locations. So even that small bit of familiarity has been pulled out from under them.

And honestly, VERY honestly, I am thrilled for Beckie. She has always wanted to do the Peace Corps or Amnesty International, or something like that. She had graduated from college two year ago and was beginning to stagnate in a serving job at Macaroni Grill. She needed a change. Needed something that would make her feel like she was really making a difference in this world. She needed to get out of her comfort zone. This fit the bill.
And the only thing that makes me a little uncomfortable with this new experience is that it is in the Middle East. Besides that little detail, I think this is the chance of a lifetime for her.
On the other end of the reaction spectrum, the more selfish end, is how I feel about what I'm losing. I am happy for her. I am hopeful this will be a deeply influential life experience for her. But one of my very best friends is now as far away from me as she can possibly be. In a scary place. Alone. I ache for her and for me and for Noah, her little nephew she has gotten so close to. It makes me so sad- to think of the many many moments we'll miss together while she is away. And though it IS only a year, a year is a long time in Beckie's nephew's life.

And Beckie has had such a good time with this little man. She has gotten so confident in his patterns and idiosyncrasies. Almost as good at "reading" Noah as Joe and I. She and he even have their "shtick"-- their little routines that make both of them laugh.
So this part of Beckie's leaving is especially hard. For her and for me. And though I'll send her plenty of pictures and video clips, as Joe's parents in Korea can attest, it simply isn't the same.

So here we are... Me in St. Louis, and Beckie all the way across the world in Iraq. IRAQ, people. And it really hasn't sunk in yet. Last week, she was hanging out at our house, her bessie Kyle in town to see her one last time before her departure, all of us laughing and pretending the inevitable wasn't coming...

But then the day actually arrived. Last Thursday. And it was all I could do all day not to cry in front of my classes as I thought about the lunch we'd all planned together before her flight. My heart just felt sore the whole day.
At lunch, I made sure she got as much Noah-time as possible. It was bittersweet seeing them interact like nothing was changing. And I could tell that the future was weighing heavily on Beckie's mind. I mean, how could it not?

But the thing is, she's going to survive. Physically, emotionally, mentally. And not just survive, but THRIVE. This will shape her in deep and significant ways. This will enrich her. She will grow. It will likely be painful and lonely... but she WILL grow.

And me? Well... I'll be okay. I'll miss her terribly. Deeply. I'll regret fleeting moments we could have been doing things together, laughing. But I'll be okay. And a year is short, in the grand scheme of things. And email is good. Care packages to Iraq even better. And she'll hurry back at the end of a year and reinstate her campaign to be Noah's coolest aunt... like she had never even left. And we'll all be okay.

God speed, little sis. You're in my prayers.


  1. Beautifully written, as always. Good luck to your sister!! Godspeed!

  2. This made me want to cry. Me being a new aunt and all I couldn't imagine a whole year away from my little guy. Goodness, Ill pray for her everyday. I hope this year will go by super fast for you, noah, and everyone else in your family. <3

  3. That brought tears to my eyes. Beckie is so beautiful in those photos.

    Saying goodbye sucks.

  4. wow, sounds scary and cool all at the same time!

    OT Answer--Not until he was 1. We started small at 6 months by showing him pictures of who people were like JC and stuff but not until he was one for a full FHE. Bridget luckily gets it every week because well, she is here! We still include her though. When she has the snack or song or scripture she points to which one and that's wat we do. We skip prayer and lesson because she is so little. Everyone has their place and part on our chart!

  5. aww...she's lucky to have you for a sister, being that you can openly speak from the heart. part of dealing with stuff like this is admitting it's tough...

  6. That was very sweet & heartfelt. I hope Beckie will be able to read this and enjoy it...tuck it away even for those lonesome days when she is missing home, and feeling like she really ISN'T making much progress.

    I miss her, too.

  7. Wow, that would crush me too. When my little sis Jamie went to Boston to be a nanny a few years back, I cried and played that "Wicked" song "For Good" over and over. But Iraq, that is a whole different story. I am very impressed that she would take such a huge life step into the unknown. Our prayers are with you both.

  8. How very cool for your sis, how very scary too. I could feel your saddness in your entry. Very heartfelt. Best of luck for all of you.

  9. Sounds like you have a really amazing family. Best of luck and safety to her on her new adventure!

  10. Good luck to your sister as she embarks on a new journey. I'm usre she will lov eit.

    I'm amazed at how I could ever be an inspiration to your craftiness... I am amazed at you. You are an inspiration to me, and to so many others that visit your blog! I fully hope you steal the sushi cupcake and will probably make something 10 times better than mine (since I don't do much in the kitchen!)j

    I'm also glad to know that I'm not the only one without a clean house! Clean houses must be for people without cool hobbies!

  11. I wish I had the words to match that amazing and touching tribute, but even the Lambson loudmouth was rendered speechless by this. Thank you for that Emily, I know Beckie feels the same way.

  12. What a beautiful tribute to your sister. Your family sounds so wonderful and supportive for each other -- what a beautiful thing for you and Noah to be a part of!

  13. What a brave soul your sister is. She is doing what so many of us yearn to do but cannot find the strength to do.

    My thoughts are with her, you, and your family.

  14. You made me tear up and that is hard to do. I will keep your sister in my prayers during this year away. I hope it passes quickly for her and you. Just think of how much fun Noah will be when she returns!

  15. These are great pictures. What a cute family you have.

  16. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and pictures. You've been so lucky to have her so close... and now she's so far from all of us.


    Thank you also for lunch on Memorial Day - it was good to have time with both of you, to renew and maintain our connections.

    Good luck on your drive(s) ahead and I'll see you soon.

    Love ya-

  17. How incredibly beautiful. You put words to some of my thoughts, and my sister is only on the other side of the continent. With a little cousin who has lived in Iraq for most of the last 5 years, I get that fear, too. But you're right - the time will go more quickly than you can imagine. And thank goodness for email!

  18. Emily, I found your blog and now I hope you don't mind if I stalk it and put your address on my blog. :) This story reminds me of when I went on my mission and my niece was not even 2. I was her favorite aunt too!! The best part was when I came home and that little girl knew exactly who I was and she gave me the biggest hug. That was worth everything!!! I also think of Patrick and the possibility he has to be deployed in the combat zone in Iraq. Your sister is very brave. Our prayers are with her!!!


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