Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Co-lean

Happy Birthday to my cousin Colleen (see pronunciation guide above)!

I’ve always said - if they really want to bring peace to the Middle East, they should send Colleen!

She is one of the most accomplished peacemakers I have ever met. Perhaps it comes from being the middle sister or even a middle child, Colleen seems to know when the situation calls for her to step in and when to duck and cover.

I was so happy when the Boehm’s moved from Texas to Rockford. They brought with them three sisters and a brother, and I was excited to have new cousin-playmates.

Colleen and I connected, almost immediately. We played Little House on the Prairie together and spent countless nights at each other’s houses.

It became clear we were quite different, even from the beginning.

When I asked Colleen what she wanted to “play,” she said “missionaries!”

When she asked me, I said, “Let’s be blood sisters!”

Thankfully, both of escaped serious injury, when Colleen assured me she did want to be my sister but thought the sight of blood might make her pass out.

Over the years, Colleen grew up into the sweet, Christian girl you read about in books. Full of virtue.

I, on the other hand, went though phases of feminism (what do you mean, “went through?”), sarcasm, and not-conservative-Christian-approved humor.

Through all of this, Colleen still loved me, liked me even. We played volleyball together and shared some of the same high school friends. I felt profoundly fortunate to be her friend.

I put Colleen through the wringer almost every time I saw her post high school. Either I teased her about her conservative views, or I threatened to hug her. This may not seem like a threat, but the Boehms DO NOT LIKE TO BE TOUCHED.

They shrink from hugs like the hugger has been dipped in toxic mud.

Colleen is often the easiest one to tease, mostly because she just smiles in her innate good-nature and loves you anyway.

I probably don’t say this enough. But every time I see Colleen, I see Christ in her.

It’s in the way she gives up her time or resources to help others. It’s in the way she doesn’t react in anger, but in love. It’s her character I admire.

And, would it be possible, I’d like to be more like her.

I know. Good luck to me, right?

So, anyway, happy birthday to Colleen. My cousin. My friend.

My “Mary”

From “Laura”

10 comments:

Heidi said...

I don't like to be touched either.

Ann-Marie said...

I feel really bad about hugging you at church the other day. Now that I know.

I'm very huggy.

Alice said...

Playing "Mary and Laura" must have been foundational for all us white suburban girls.

Heidi said...

That is okay. I married into a very touchy-feely family, so it does not bother me as much as it used to.

Juliet said...

Happy Birthday Colleen...your card in the mail.

WendyJanelle said...

Wow. I like "Co-Lean" now an dI've never even met her. Way to describe someone. You're such a talented writer.

I've become a hugger. I don't know how it happened, but one day I just started hugging everyone! I probably terrified my poor no-touch friends! :-) Heh heh.

Ann-Marie said...

Alice -
We played Little House and Caddie Woodlawn (sp?) (good book for your reviews).

My poor cousins were also roped into many, many of my harebrained schemes and skits. I'm actually kind of amazed they still talk to me after all I put them through and how OFTEN I got them in trouble!

Alice said...

Oh yeah, I LOVED Caddie Woodlawn. Betsy-Tacy too!

You guys sound like you had a blast...

Ann-Marie said...

Who's Betsy-Tacy?

Also - side note, I loved Trixie Belden growing up.

Alice said...

Trixie Belden was great; always glad to meet another fan.

The Betsy-Tacy books, in my personal opinion, are better than all of them. We're talking Laura, Anne, name it. Again, that's just my opinion and I'm a die-hard Little House, Avonlea, etc. fan. B-T are by Maud Hart Lovelace. I'd personally start with the high school ones, but they start from when Betsy and Tacy are age 5 until they're grown up and married. There's even a Betsy-Tacy Society! Google it. The books will assuredly show up on my blog book reviews at some point...