Day 15: Dear Serena

*Thanks to my friend Samantha Hogan for sharing her letter to her sister, Serena, on Day 15 of the Dear Gratitude project. Her letter reminds me to share my gratitude with the people I love TODAY.*

To my sister Serena:

Sam Hogan familyI know I should have written you this letter long before you went to be with Jesus, but sometimes, a person doesn’t realize how thankful they are until it is too late to say so.  So, today, I am writing this letter to tell you all of the things I should have told you before now.

First of all, not a day goes by that I don’t think about you.  We definitely had our ups and downs in our relationship, but you taught me so much as my older sister.  Growing up, I can remember you doing some of my chores because I just wouldn’t do them.  You’d swear to me that you were going to tell mom on me when she got home, but I’m pretty sure you never did.  I specifically remember sitting down in the hallway one time and refusing to empty the bathroom trash.  You told me you’d had it and were telling on me, all the while, emptying the trash that I was in charge of doing.  Never once did I get into trouble for that.  Thank you, for saving my rear.

So many basketball games I had to cheer at from fifth grade to senior year.  You weren’t always at mom and dads, but when you were, and it was ‘french braid’ day on the squad, you never complained to get up at 6:30 in the morning to braid my hair.  I wonder now how I’d have ever gotten my hair done had you not been there. I’m sure I’d have gotten a demerit for sure!  You even tried to teach me to do it myself.  To this day, I still practice some, but can’t quite get it.  Thank you for being patient enough to try and teach me.

On my wedding day, you were there. Sitting quietly and out of the way.  I remember you were so excited to get to be there, and offered so many times to help.  Thank you for showing up for me. I know I didn’t say it that day. I have a picture of us from that day that I will forever cherish.

Sam HOgan Christmas 2011Thank you for all the Christmas presents you worked feverishly to find for me. To make sure that even if it wasn’t much, it was just the perfect thing for us.  I see now just how much love and heart went into the things you did for me.  And I am so thankful for them.

Last, but certainly not least, thank you for the dozens of telephone calls you would make to me on my birthdays.  So many times I would pick up the phone, thank you for the birthday wishes, and so many times I would ignore the calls, because I’d just talked to you an hour before.  Oh I wish I could ‘ignore’ your calls now on my birthdays! But, time passes and God had other plans for you.

So, on this day, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for all those times you covered for me, for all the times you helped me out, for loving me when I probably didn’t deserve it, and for being my sister.  You truly made my world a better place to live in.

I love you,

Samantha

Some people have it made

Special thanks to Henry Petty, guest writer, for today’s blog post.

Last week we were at the Jack Stephens Center cheering on the UALR Lady Trojans in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  Immediately, I noticed a 6’5” player from the opposing team, Delaware, who pretty much did everything you don’t expect a woman of her height in a basketball game to do:  run the point, shoot the three, and score 40 points in one game.  Her name is Elena Della Don, and she currently leads the NCAA women’s division with most points scored by a player.

Sitting back and watching the action on the court, I couldn’t help but envy her.  I kept thinking to myself, “This girl has it made.  Her life is so simple.  22 years old.  Go to college, play awesome basketball on a full-ride scholarship, make truckloads of money in the WNBA in the future or maybe a coaching job, being in ads, Olympics, and probably be a doctor.  The end.”

I know, it’s not good to sulk, but I was rationalizing and assuming a college athlete’s life was a fast-track to simplistic success compared to the constant uphill battle I find myself in on a daily basis just to achieve mediocre success inside a cubicle.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

From her Wikipedia page:

“Following an outstanding prep career during which she became the most highly touted women’s basketball recruit since Candace Parker, Delle Donne received a basketball scholarship from the University of Connecticut. However, in early June 2008 Delle Donne abruptly dropped out of Connecticut’s summer school program after just two days in Storrs. Delle Donne was very close to her family, especially her sister Lizzy, who has cerebral palsy, and is blind and deaf. She wasn’t ready to be separated from her family.

A week after leaving Connecticut, Delle Donne said by telephone from her home in Wilmington that she has “a lot of personal issues to fix. Only my family understands what’s going on. Right now I am going to take a long personal break.”

I personally have much more respect for her after reading this than I did when she single-handedly knocked off the UALR Trojans.  In fact, it makes me feel almost like I’ve walked in her footsteps as I dealt with a similar situation growing up.  Perhaps we’re kindred spirits, and there’s some advice I could pitch her way.

In turn, maybe she can help me with my hook shot.

For more from Henry, check out his blog.