My sisters and my mom are all very talented performers. My mom has the most amazing voice. My sister Kimberly was the star of all her high school musicals. My sister Jennica was a cheerleader and a song leader. Both of my sisters were ballerinas, performing in the Nutcracker every Christmas. The women in my family are magical. And, I love to watch each of them perform. My dad is a wicked ping-pong player. Apparently he won tournaments and everything. Not to mention, he's the smartest, kindest, and most generous man I know. My brothers are F-U-N-N-Y, like none other, in different ways, but both are super funny. I could listen to both of them and laugh all day. And, they both have the biggest hearts. I am mesmerized by my sisters and my brothers and my parents.
I was in the choir in junior high. I still haven't figured out who my mom paid to let me in. I TRIED to do ballet, but I was NEVER any good. I was in a recital one time when I was about 6, all I had to do was keep my hands on my hips and kick from side-to-side. Unfortunately, I kicked to the wrong side every time, until finally the girl next to me got bugged, shoved me and my clown hat fell off. It was tragic... and lucky for me we have it all on home video. I tried out for Drill Team in junior high, but I was HORRIBLE beyond description and I didn't make the team. I was in the school musical during my Sophomore year of high school. The director LOVED my family. So, he let me say one line "Annie Oak." That was my 15 minutes of fame. Oh... and when I was in junior high school I won first place in the 50s lip sync. That's right, apparently I am not that bad AT LIP SYNCING... Basically, I am a sad excuse for a performer.
All growing up my sister, Jennica, loved to perform. When we were little, she LOVED to make commercials while we were in the tub. She'd make commercials about EVERYTHING... shampoo, conditioner, soap, razors... basically anything in the tub was fair game. In her little world, she was the spokesperson for EVERYTHING! And, I was her side-kick. My job was to pass the shampoo, conditioner, soap and/or razors on cue, and I did a decent job, most of the time. Jennica also loved to sing and dance at every talent show or recital she could. And, she always wanted a back-up dancer. I guess she just wanted/needed someone to be behind her. For some reason, she didn't like to perform alone. And, although I was a sorry excuse for a back-up, she always begged me to tag-team with her. Sometimes I said yes, and sadly, sometimes I said no.
For some reason I can't get this one memory out of my head this week. I must have been like 12 or 13. I was at Magic Mountain with Jennica and a bunch of friends. And, way back in the day before you could just go to a karaoke bar and sing your little heart out, you could rent out a room at Magic Mountain. Jennica really wanted sing in that room, and, like always, she begged me to be her back-up singer. We sang "That's what friends are for" by Deon Warwick. It's all on tape. For the bargain price of $25 bucks, Magic Mountain recorded us. I am pretty sure we sounded horrible. I am sure that tape is long gone, which is OK, since who even has a tape player these days?!? But, on the way home from Magic Mountain that day, we listened to it on repeat for the entire 2 hours back. We thought we were rad!
Recently, I can't stop thinking about how much I love my family - they are my everything. In combination with the Gospel, they are my greatest blessing. And, I have known my entire life that my family is the best part of me. As cheesy and out-of-date as that Deon Warwick song is, it is still so fitting, because my parents and my siblings are my very best friends and my greatest examples. I would give anything to take away their pains and heartaches, and whenever these occur I feel them as if they are my own. But, as demonstrated, I could never perform nearly as well at what each of them is talented enough and strong enough to do. So, to my family, I want you all to know that I will always be the best back-up performer I could ever be.
And, 20 years later, I hear a different song in my head when I think of my family... a Buddy Wakefield tune... "Pretend inside your skin, you've got a friend, who's willing to give you everything you ever wanted, in exchange for all you've ever been."
But, of course when those rare instances happen when I hear "keep smiling... keep shining knowing you can always count on me... for sure... that's what friends are for..." I smile and laugh and think of my best friends... all 6 of them.