Friday, September 23, 2016

Montana: Part 1

Me and Sis at Glacier National Park

My sister, who I've always referred to in this blog as Sis, and I grew up together.  She is 5 years younger than me, but we've often been asked if we are twins.  In fact, we STILL get asked that.  We've always known we had another sister out there.  I thought about her often over the years, wondering whatever happened to her.  The first and only time I'd ever met her was when she was just a baby, not even a year old.  I was 11 at the time.

There are a few cousins on my dad's side of the family that I know and have been Facebook friends with.  Overall, I don't know that side of the family very well at all though.  I'd often see people on Facebook with my maiden name (that those cousins are friends with) and wonder if they could be my Baby Sis.  Then, on January 26, 2010, I received a Facebook message from her:

"Hello my name is insert name.  I think you are my half sister.  Is your father insert name  from Kalispell, Mt?  If not sorry."

With my Baby Sis!

Sis had gotten the same message from her.  From there we all continued to message and get to know each other.  We eventually exchanged phone numbers and started texting every once in awhile.  

About a year and a half ago, Sis and her hubby (BIL) started making plans to take a trip to Montana to meet Baby Sis and her family, and asked if we'd want to go too.  I have always wanted to go to Montana, to see where that side of my family is from.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go, but in the end, it worked out for me and the kids to make the trip with them.

On August 20, 2016, after 30 years, us three sisters were reunited!  It pretty much was like our first time ever meeting, since Sis and I were just kids the first time around, and Baby Sis was only 7 or 8 months old.  It was an instant bond.  We all hugged and held onto each other tight when we first saw each other.  It was maybe awkward for about 3 seconds, but that's it. We quickly settled into her house, and spent the rest of the week getting to know each other.

And then there were three.
We stayed busy doing touristy things almost every day, but at night after we all put the kids to bed, the three of us stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking.  We had to take advantage of every single minute we were together, getting to know how we each grew up, sharing what little information we knew about our dad, and looking through Baby Sis's old pictures.

At one point, I was looking at a picture that had a little girl that looked sooooo familiar.  I could have sworn it was Sis.  I started to ask who the girl in the picture was, and then Sis said, "wait.  That's me!"  Turns out that Baby Sis had a picture of Sis all these years and didn't even know it!  She didn't know who the girl was.  The picture was from our one meeting 30 years prior, when her mom and our dad took us all camping (with her other sisters, her mom's kids).  Whoever took the picture wasn't a very good photographer unfortunately.  Baby Sis and two of her other sisters were also in the picture, but another sister and I were cut out of the picture.  We were standing there, and I believe I was actually holding Baby Sis in the picture, but our heads were chopped off.

I am so amazed by all that Baby Sis has been through in her life.  She by far did not have an easy childhood.  She is so strong and so brave, and I am completely in awe of what she has done with her life considering everything she has been through.  She has an amazing family with her husband and little girl, and I am so happy that she has them in her life.  I am so happy that I have her in MY life now!

Baby Sis is soft spoken and so genuinely sweet.  She has such a loving personality and cares deeply, but also can be ferocious in defending what she believes in.  She also has such an easy way with children.  All of the kids fell in love with her pretty much immediately.  She played with them, cuddled them, and showed them so much love.  My heart melted watching her play with Ayden and Rylee.

My nephew Nathanial and Rylee cuddled up with their Auntie.

What made the week beyond special, was that we all stayed together under one roof at her house.  We were able to spend absolutely every waking moment together.  We were able to stay up late every single night.  We had every meal together.  All the kids got to play together for the entire week.  Even when we are home, Sis's kids and mine don't get to spend that much quality time together.  Everyone has busy lives, and we live an hour apart from each other.  Obviously that's a lot closer than we live to Baby Sis, but the point is that the week was so special because we were all together.  The only person missing was Tony, which he regretted not going, but he hadn't wanted to take that much time off work.

Baby Sis gifted Sis and I with necklaces a few days after we arrived.  She had one made for each of us, with the infinity sign included, so that we would always have something connecting us even when we aren't together.

The best part of our trip to Montana was the three of us sisters being together.  The worst part was saying goodbye.  A week simply wasn't long enough.  We still have so much more to learn about each other.  We left with plans of making sure we see each other at least once a year.  Next year, Baby Sis and her family will come to Oregon.  The year after that, we will travel to Montana again, and so on, alternating years.  Of course, the ultimate plan would be for Baby Sis and her little family to move to Oregon.  She doesn't have huge ties keeping her in Montana, but her and her husband just recently started a business that they are trying to get established.  We'll see what happens....

It's time to say goodbye.
Till next time.


  1. Oh, Amber!! I love you sharing this story and being able to learn more about baby Sis. Some pictures I haven't seen but one that I saw before, made me cry this time, the last one with the 3 of you hugging good-bye! Sending prayers that whatever is best for Baby Sis and her family with their new business adventure or the possibility of moving closer to have family ties. May God guide them to what is best for them! Love and hugs and looking forward to part 2!!!!! Auntie

    1. I'm looking forward to writing part two! d:)

  2. Oh so special!!!!

    P. S. You HAVE to be twins.

    1. I thought of you when I was writing that part!!! Lol!

  3. This is beautiful!! I agree with Heidi, you just gotta be twins! haha

    1. I just want to say thank you for being such a faithful reader and commenter, Amie. It means a lot!

  4. I'm so glad that you had such a great time on your trip! I would have been so nervous that it would be awkward! I love the necklaces too- what a great gift!

  5. Those necklaces... <3 Loved reading this. Onto part 2!