Day 1, 500 Words (502)

What do I want to accomplish by joining 500 Words? I want to write. I am a storyteller. I stand up in front of people and tell stories about my life. I think I’m pretty good at it, but it’s hard to come up with seven minutes’ worth of story. I feel like my stories are good for two, three minutes.

So my goal is to find something to say; stories to tell. If I can write 500 words a day, I should be able to come up with something interesting. And through my writing, I’ll find my voice—my stories.

But my second goal is to find humor in everything I write. I think even sadness has room for humor. So here goes:

My hero, my mentor, my favorite person in the world died three years ago. She was my big sister, Diane. Three weeks short of her 60th birthday, she lost her battle with uterine cancer. Can I find humor in this? Of course I can, because Diane was, among many things, a funny person who sought and found humor in everything. She wanted to write a book about how to raise children called “Dare to be Dippy.”

Because she was 7 years older than me, my real memories of growing up with Di begin in her teenage years. Listening to the Beatles with our sister Georgia, 18 months younger than Diane; fixing her hair into that perfect flip, practicing baton twirling for her role as captain of the baton corps. (Her greatest fear, she once told us, was that her obituary would include that fact, meaning that it would be the ultimate accomplishment of her life. Of course, we included it, but she had always dared us to be dippy.)

I miss Diane every moment of every day. I loved her as much as I love my children and my husband. She was my hero and by going before me, taught me how to live, how to love life, how to be a wife, a mother, a big sister. She was such a good mom and enjoyed her babies and children so much, she made me unafraid to take that route myself and I’m forever grateful to her for that. She showed me that being relaxed with my kids and having fun with them, while guiding them through life, is a joy, not a chore.

Sometimes we’d spend hours on the phone, just laughing and giggling about all sorts of things. We could talk and talk about nothing, really, but it was so much fun, so good for me.

Ten years ago, we were faced with the first real tragedy in our lives: my mom got brain cancer. We’d had it so easy up until then, but life came at us and slammed us in the face. Diane helped us all get through it, but most of all, she appreciated how much I did to help my mom and family get through it. That meant the world to me.

More later …