Today, picking up on a theme that was started quite a few months back, I'd like to tell you why I'm proud of my sister Jennifer.
Jennifer (or Jenny) is the fifth child in a family of six. This birth order alone can be difficult to deal with, as far too often the middle children in a large family feel lost in the shuffle. To add to that, among so many squeaky-wheel siblings (myself included), Jenny rarely complains and has thus sometimes received the short end of the stick when it comes to attention.
Jenny is a woman of mystery and allure. (This sentence alone should make her snort with derision.) Her talents are so multitudinous that it is difficult to list them all, but I'll try to mention a few. First, she is a raconteuse of no little skill, and can make just about any life experience worth hearing; she tells stories with plenty of humor, aplomb and pitch-perfect comedic timing.
Jenny also has a beautiful singing voice, though she doesn't often admit to it. She knows and can sing scads of Broadway tunes, is the Queen of Karaoke Performance, and has the ability to break into a dead-on Ethel Merman impression at a moment's notice. (It's uncanny, I tell you.)
When Jenny was younger, she was simply blunt in stating her opinion. Now that she's matured, she is refreshingly frank. (Yes, they are very different things.) You never have to wonder where you stand with Jenny; she has no problem saying exactly what she thinks.
Thus far, Jenny is the only one of my sisters to have served a full-time mission for our church. She devoted a year and a half and much of her own money to go to Bordeaux, France, where she learned to speak French with near-native fluency and accent. She also learned numerous bits of exotic yet useful trivia, such as a) after a long day of going door-to-door, bidets make handy footbaths, b) in France, sometimes the Orangina flows like water, and c) there's nothing quite like hearing "How Great Thou Art" when it is sung in French by an authentic crazy person. I don't know if she's aware how tremendously proud I am of her for serving a mission.
Jenny is also really, really good with kids. She was a grade-school camp counselor for several years, and now she teaches sixth grade in an undisclosed location in Utah. She's loving, but very firm, and those kids know they cannot get away with squat in her classroom. Incidentally, she is also the only sibling who followed in my mother's footsteps by becoming a professional teacher. Jenny puts a lot of her time and effort into teaching, and it shows; parents and kids adore her. She is also the go-to girl when it comes to the latest and best titles in children's literature, and she is gracious in letting me blather on about my Harry Potter obsession ad nauseam.
Finally, Jenny is gorgeous. She has this peaches-and-cream complexion, striking eyes that shift color constantly from blue to green to grey, and a perfect smile. Even her driver's license photo looks fabulous. How does she do it?!
I'm excited that Jenny is coming to visit at the end of the month. I've missed her.
Love you, Jen.