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31 Days, 31 People
Day 31: KIMBERLEE

The last living member of my immediate family (other than myself, of course,) my incredible sister and double-E-at-the-end-of-our-name sharer: Kimberlee.

I’ve been excited to write this one since the beginning of this project, now that it’s here my mind is such a flood of stories, smiles, and tears that I’m not sure where to start or if I’ll do any justice to the level of gratitude I have for my sister…

Kimberlee,

As kids, with four years between us, we had our own friends and did our own thing a lot. I remember when we were really young and lived in Las Vegas, you and Brooke were pretty inseparable. When our family moved to Lincoln County, I remember things never really got easy for you. You were different. Kids are not always kind when a kid is different. You had your own sense of style and it was never trendy at the time. But you had this confidence about who you were and you owned every decision you made. What’s hilarious in retrospect is, pretty much everything you did seems like it eventually became a trend. You were always ahead of your time that way. More glamorous than our small town could appreciate. You’re still more glamorous than I can comprehend most of the time. You’re amazing.

I think about the loss we’ve experienced in our lives. You were only seven when we lost our brother. I have no idea how a seven-year-old processes something like that. You were four months pregnant with the first baby in our family when we lost our mom. I remember how excited mom was about this incredible little baby coming into our lives. I remember that horrible phone call I had to make to tell you she was gone. You were in Missouri, so far away. But you made it home so fast. 
Losing dad a few years ago caught us both by surprise. With every loss we experience together, I’m reminded that I am not alone. You’re there. 
You’re unbelievably strong. I know you know this, but I think you’re even stronger than you realize.

I also think about how much we’ve laughed. We can find humor in some of the silliest things. Remember when we’d find a funny part of a movie and replay it hundreds of times? One little clip over and over. And laugh hysterically every time. Singing and driving and scrounging through everything we own to find change for Taco Bell. Trying to recreate our own Taco Bell recipes at home. (Bad idea.) And the times we’d drive our parents crazy from the back seat of the car repeating their words with funny voices. I love that we still make funny voices when we hang out together. That’ll be even more awesome when we’re in our 80s. Your sense of humor is something that has been such a part of you. And part of me. I remember when I was young, I thought I wanted to be a comedian but then I realized you were the funny one. I still think you should be a comedian, you’re one of the funniest people I know.

We’ve been through a lot together. A lot. We could fill books with dad stories, alone. We’ve also grown up and we’ve lived completely separate lives. We’re moms now. You’ve got those two amazing boys and I’ve got these two amazing girls. We’re completely different people and we live pretty far from each other but our sisterly bond is pretty incredible. I like that we still talk on the phone frequently and we text in between. I like our closeness. No matter where we go or live, I hope we’ll always stay close.

My sister, I want you to know I believe in you. I have always believed in you. You believe in yourself more lately than I’ve ever seen and you wear that so well. Hold onto that, wherever it takes you will be a good place. You have a beautiful heart, you are a wonderful person and you deserve wonderful things. I lucked out in the sister draw, I got an awesome one. I can’t imagine my life without you.

I love you, Ms. Kimberlee.

❤ Your big sis, Jaimee

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