October 30, 2020
When you think of your hero, someone you look up to, who do you see? Is it someone famous? Perhaps someone with tons of life experience and wisdom? Is your hero someone who has sacrificed something for you or even maybe someone you’ve never met? This is a graduation story accomplished only through hard work, dedication, and perseverance accomplished by my hero. I’m not only lucky enough to know her, but to call her family. Despite the traditional thought of a hero as being older than you, mine is my little sister, Jamie.
My sissy, my best friend
Many who know us know that my best friend in the whole world is my sister. We did not have the best beginning to our relationship though. As kids we honestly hated each other. We never got along and always fought, sometimes physically! But as we got older and life threw so many challenging curveballs at us, we grew closer than I ever dreamed we could be. Thinking about it now, I have no idea what I would do without my sissy. No one knows me best and has been through as much with me.
We grew up in a rather difficult childhood that had many challenges. I joke sometimes that God has a sense of humor and a soft heart because He had us experience many of life’s ups and downs together at the same time. We both had our first babies very young. Jamie and I were even pregnant with our last babies at the same time, delivering just 2 weeks apart! We have been on crutches at the same time and lost several close family members together, including our mom this last year.
Even though Jamie and I are as close as we are, we couldn’t be more different in so many ways. She’s been the tougher, thick skinned sister who doesn’t care what others think of her but has a heart of gold. Jamie would run into a burning building to save someone she didn’t even know if she had to. She has worked so hard her entire life, climbing what’s ALWAYS felt like an uphill battle. Nothing has ever really come easy for her but she’s never once given up.
Never a quitter
Jamie didn’t give up when her second son was born naturally at 11.5 pounds, breaking his arm and her pelvis, completely shattering her and causing permanent physical damage. She didn’t give up when she realized her college program could no longer be continued in the automotive field because after having her son she couldn’t physically get down under a car anymore. Jamie didn’t give up when on her first day at OSU, after transferring and changing her major, her professor in her first class told her she should give up and quit now because with two kids and about an hour commute she would never make it to the end of the program given her situation and her background.
When they told her she had run out of financial aid and she didn’t have the funds to keep it going, she didn’t give up. Jamie didn’t give up when the struggles and pressures of being a full time mom of two rowdy boys, a full time student, and an unsettling home life came crashing down on her. She pressed on no matter what life threw at her. She was determined and pushed. Striving to make a better life for herself and her boys than we had growing up, she made it to the end.
She did it!
June of 2018 Jamie graduated with her bachelor’s degree in the Fish and Wildlife program at Oregon State University. Which is so fitting to our feud as kids, because I’m an all out Duck fan! Haha! We definitely had fun with the rival schools though. (Not that I graduated from U of O. I just like the Ducks.) But never in my life up to that point had I been as proud of her as I was on that day! My entire one hour drive to her graduation ceremony all I did was bawl my eyes out in complete and utter pride and sheer happiness. Jamie had been doubted. She had been put down. She was made to feel like a failure. There were so many countless obstacles that bombarded her path. But she stuck to it no matter how hard it was, and she persevered.
All I could think about was that teacher on her very first day of class. I so wished they had seen her and remembered what they said to her. For anyone they would have had in future classes, I wish this would have stood as a lesson to never try to dim anyone’s shine. You never know what they are capable of. Even if the world seems to beat them down, they may just rise above it all. Jamie is a precious diamond to me. She started out as a piece of coal, you know cause she was mean to me as kids haha! And as life pressed on her and held her there, she was becoming a diamond.
Since her graduation, Jamie has now been living her dreams of working within the forestry department and being a wildlife scientist. I’m so freaking proud of you, sissy! I can’t wait to see what else you do! You are an inspiration to me, my hero, and to so many others to keep pushing forward no matter what your dreams are or how hard life is trying to beat you down. The only thing that can truly stand in your way, is you.
Love graduation stories? Take a look at my oldest baby’s 8th grade graduation during a Covid shutdown!