We were college girls.
My sister and I.
The perks of being 18 months apart.
We had the freedom to be on our own, the freedom to be silly, self absorbed and careless.
And the naive idea that we would be young forever.

The time Brooke and I had as single ladies lasted about a week and half as it now seems.

Often during that time Brooke would invite me to stay with her for the weekend at USU where she was going to school. I was her wing-man.

I tried to act all casual about it when we would make plans over the phone, pretending that I might be otherwise unavailable. Although I wonder if Brooke could've guessed that those weekends were the very best thing about my seventeen year old life.

One weekend I was making the 3 hour drive to Logan right after I got off work. I didn't have a swimsuit so I took a fifteen minutes detour to Orem picking out a swimsuit and buying it sight unseen, not even taking it from the hanger.

Early Saturday morning Brooke and I hopped in with a bunch of good-looking college boys who were borrowing their dad's truck and boat for a little water skiing on Willard Bay. I was doing my darndest to prove I was worthy to be there, just one of the crew.

On the drive through the canyon I said some cheesy pun to the group about the fall leaves, bold of me anyhow. There was an awkward pause, Brooke looked at the boys and back at me and said "she's hilarious huh!" and they all laughed - mostly to please her.

We were off to a great start.

I was however, already feeling uneasy about my situation.

First of all, I had never been water skiing, ever. Never ever.

Secondly I was with a bunch of college boys that looked like the Harvard swim team and Brooke who had already magically had them on the hook. Then there was Brooke's new friend who was a taller, prettier, classier, smarter, blonder, curvier, opposite of me, version of me.

Right out of the gate, they volunteered me to go first in the water since I was the newbie. I put on a brave face and faked confidence. I carefully maneuvered a lifejacket over my new swimsuit hoping no one would discover like I did (too late) that my swimsuit was clearly too big for me.

I jumped in the cold water holding the rope in my shaking hands and listening to instructions from about five different guys all looking like the Justin Bieber Calvin Klein ad. I was bobbing in the water awkwardly, feeling like I was again ten years old and still having issues with my bangs. As the boat revved up I begged myself to not mess up "alright something great here, don't be lame!"

I looked to Brooke who was talking to her pals and keeping an eye on me and likely saying the same thing; "alright something great here, don't be lame!"

That weekend two things could've happened: I could've raised right up on the skis, taking naturally to the sport, impressing them all with my grace and skill then gently landing in a light spray of water and wiping the mist from my sun kissed skin....

or....what actually happened.

...balancing on the skis with the well-intentioned help of all the people on that boat, did not work out so well for me. Each time I was almost vertical, I was thrust forward swallowing gallons of Willard Bay's finest as I went down. I'm pretty sure at one point I was just in the water only for their entertainment.

Finally, I got down right angry and did what I set my mind to and miraculously stood up on the skis!! A glorious moment. Not a fluke turn of luck, but a verified moment of me actually water skiing! I got up on the skis turn after turn. I could hear the cheers and encouragement coming from the boat. I thought I heard one of the college boys talk about a marriage proposal, but I couldn't be sure.

Finally I decided I had had enough and tried to be funny taking one hand off the rope and lifting one ski. Without warning my other ski caught the edge of the water just slightly and as you often see on fail posts on YouTube - I flipped sideways, backwards and crashed face first violently into the water.

The force of the blow sent me savagely turning and twisting underneath the water in the wake of the boat. I came up gasping. They circled back around and I could see the boat approaching. I waved to show them I was ok.

One of the boys reached out a hand to help me back in the boat. It was that very moment of coming out of the water that took notice that my swim top was missing. I felt for it and found it somewhere around my waist. How in the world my swimsuit came all the way off both arms, I'll never know. Horrified, I quickly let go of the guy's hand and fell back into the water with a splash. Everyone looked at me confused and I looked at Brooke for help mouthing the words; "my swimsuit is off..." she studied me closer saying, "...what?" I mouthed the words again while still in the water..."my swimsuit IS OFF..." It took her a minute to catch on to what was I was saying. I braced for that moment of realization, knowing it was coming. Before the hysterical laughter, her hand went over her mouth and her eyes widened as if to say, thank you little sister, thank you for being so incredibly awkward that this is your life right now.

- and then she almost passed out laughing.

- and of course told everyone what happened.

If you are familiar with me and my only sister Brooke, then you probably have read these sister blog posts; THE MEANEST SISTER,   TWISTER SISTER,  and  MY SISTER THE DANCER where I talk about the ups and down of our relationship.

Brooke and I were friends in the early days, vicious enemies through our teen years, frenemies in college and now soul mates.

Today happens to be Brooke's birthday and once again I am reminiscing on the good times with my sister, my best frenemy.

It was an erie feeling being friends with Brooke through our college years. It almost seemed like she enjoyed hanging out with me - so strange. One weekend the two of us got tickets to see the Adam Sandler show at Kingsbury Hall. Just before the show started I had my feet tucked in the folded seat of the chair in front of me.

 (this was the actual seats at Kingsbury Hall) 

(I took a picture when we there for my brother Josh's law school graduation a few years ago) 

Back to the Adam Sandler concert story. Brooke and I were talking and I didn't notice the man in front of me about to sit down in his chair. The man unknowingly sat down, trapping my feet in the chair, bending my toes so far forward, I thought they were going to break off - It hurt like crazzzzy! Not thinking, just reacting, I reached up and grabbed the guy's head from behind and howled ooooouch! Brooke had no idea what was going on, all she saw was me suddenly and wildly grabbing a stranger by the head and start yelling at him. Her startled reaction made me laugh and I was frantically trying, but couldn't find the words to explain my situation. I was in so much pain, but laughing at the same time. The man spun around in his chair, trying to figure out what was going on, my feet still clamped tight in the seat. Brooke was aware of what was going on but let it all play out in front of her like some brilliant director admiring the show.

Brooke wasn't always a frenemy, sometimes she was all heart.

When we were little girls I remember one Sunday Brooke and I walked to the North Park. Our North Park. Exactly where Costco's dairy section sits right now. We walked along the bike trail at the park and Brooke told me all about the boys in her class that were in love with her and all the girls in her class that were afraid of her and or respected her.

 On the way home I confided in Brooke that I wanted to be more popular, popular like her. I told her I didn't feel like anyone liked me - Suzy Evans brought the new Michael Jackson album to school and there was no way I could compete with that. The woes of a 9 year old.

(9 yr. old me bottom right) 
*when I showed this to Wade today I said "who is the prettiest girl here?"
he said - "there are girls in this? everyone looks like boys -"
ha ha thanks 1980's!

Brooke had a Mother Teresa moment right there at the park as I confided in her and she had pity on me, her unpopular, pathetic little sister. She came up with a plan to host a birthday party for me. I remember the determined look on her face as she pulled out my mom's craft box and made invites on yellow construction paper folded in half. A ruler was used to insure a professional look in the handwriting. A guest list made of the most popular girls in my class. They were the untouchables. I was thinking that the whole thing was just a silly hypothetical, but clearly Brooke was serious. The little yellow invites were made, giving the birthday party details for that Thursday. It was clearly not my birthday. My actual birthday was months away. A minor detail Brooke seemed to not care about.

I promise I had nothing to do with anything after this. Brooke wanted to take matters into her own hands and delivered the homemade invites to all the popular girls the next day (something that I would've never dared to do)

I went throughout the week, truly forgetting anything about the party - and apparently so had Brooke.

One day at lunch I left my lunch card so I walked back to my class. I was stopped by a popular girl who asking me what I wanted for my birthday. I shyly said a few things that came to mind and continued to walk down the hall wondering why the heck she wanted to know that?!

A few days later, I was in our basement watching TV after school. Brooke came leaping down the stairs and flew over to me on the couch, jumping right on top of me. What is going on? I asked. She screamed into the couch pillow for a minute and then told me that we were in trouble - "we" usually meant "her".  She told me that there were a bunch of girls at our door step that very minute there for my fake "birthday party."

Brooke and I crawled up on the window sill and watched from the basement window as my mom stood on the porch apologizing to the cute little girls and their mothers. How embarrassing it must've been for my mom to tell those girls dressed up with bows in their hair and pretty colored presents in their hands that sorry, there was no birthday party that day.

I can still remember crouching in the basement window like some weirdo looking out to see the most popular girl in my school, with golden ringlets walking back to her mom's car shrugging her shoulders.

Brooke did me no favors.

This past year was probably one of the biggest years of my life. Through it all, my sister, has kept track of me like a good sister should. I was having a rough day last March in particular. Brooke and I were playing phone tag all day but finally connected. I was in the middle of telling her how good-for-nothing my life was when our call got dropped and the conversation ended. I tried calling her back thinking that it was really important to have her validate my misery. We both finally gave up trying to have a real conversation. A few hours passed and I was still feeling discouraged when I saw one little text from my sister come across my phone.

Just simply the words:
"you got this sis, I love you"

Somehow that tiny bit of encouragement lasted me through that day, the rest of the week and saw me through the whole year.

Our oldest boys left on missions this year.

New territory for both of us.

Brett left first, and Jake a few weeks later.

Each going to different parts of the world.

Jake and Brett grew up together, they're practically brothers.

They became particularly close the last few months before their missions.

The night before Brett was to leave, Jake came over to the house along with other friends to say goodbye to Elder Roberts. Later that evening, everyone had left our house except for Jake. 

I was doing the dishes, making myself busy - listening to Jake and Brett talk and waiting for the inevitable goodbye. 

Brett and Jake talked by the door, gave a few manly pats on the back, and a joke or two and then Brett started to say goodbye. Jake stopped him and said solemnly; "hey um I'm not ready to do this just yet...I'll come back tomorrow" 

The next morning, as Brett was just about to load up in our car and leave. Jake drove up.
Not too many words were said, Jake knew this would be it for a while. 

Jake shook Brett's hand then with a big bear hug said simply; 

"you got this bro. I love you."

~ ~ ~

Happy Birthday to my
brilliant sister Brooke. 

I owe her everything.


I LOVE reading your posts! You are a great story teller. The skiing experience cracked me up. My first time skiing was when I was 15 and my first time up I had the biggest wedgy and I didn't enjoy the ride cuz I was too worried that I was mooning everyone behind me. When I finally got the courage to let go with one hand to fix my suit, I wiped out hard. And my mom's house used to be where the Orem Costco's gas station is now. Congrats on your new baby, by the way!! I love his name!

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