top of page

Muddy Waters
& Tea Parties

I see myself through my sister’s eyes. My memories of being a baby are not actually mine, but hers.


I am one year old, she is four. I started walking when I was only 10 months old. For the next  several months I often toddle around dressed only in a diaper. My older brother dotes over me. Adults exclaim how adorable I am, but Kathy, my four-year-old sister, does not agree.


After all, I am an atrocity! I may be a baby, but to her I am not little and I am certainly not adorable. I have an enormous, bald head, and a skinny, awkward body. And yet people insist on calling me “cute.” I, however, do feel like I am cute! I smile at everyone I see and win their smiles in return.


One fine spring day my sister and I are playing in the back yard. I am sitting on the patio observing ants and bugs (maybe eating a few—my brother taught me that trick). The humid Missouri air makes your skin feel sticky, but the sunshine and warmth put me in a jolly mood. I laugh and smile and shake my arms and do all of the things that get attention from adults. Finally, Kathy has had enough. She sees a bucket of muddy water and decides to dump in on my head to prove to everyone just how ugly I am. Kathy’s logic is impeccable.

The muddy water surprises me, but I am just as happy being dirty as being clean! There I am: through my sister’s eyes I see this dirty, ugly baby that she loves so much she has to hug me even though she just dumped muddy water on my head. This is the sister who will always love me no matter how ugly I may be, inside or out. Her fierce love is evident in pictures. We will spend our childhood together, having tea parties, skinning our knees

while riding bikes, holding hands in the hallway and crying when our mother plays Chopin’s “Prelude in D flat Major” on the piano, which Kathy decided was a very emotional piece of music. We will be each other’s best friend for life: we will confide in each other, pray for each other, and be amazed at each other’s accomplishments.

A lifetime of love and friendship spans in front of us, but for now I just pat my little baby hands in the muddy water, delighted at the splashing sounds. My mother has seen our drama play out from the kitchen window. She comes outside with a towel to clean me off and scolds my sister, all the while holding back her laughter. Kathy gives a determined glare, but grudgingly agrees to not pour muddy water on my head again. I am now 50 years old, and so far she has kept this promise, but you never know . . .

I'll keep you updated!

Kathy and Janet, Tea Time_edited.jpg

My sister and I having tea

“A friend loves at all times, and siblings are born to share adversity.”

Proverbs 17:17


bottom of page