A few weeks ago Colleen asked me why I was laughing as she got into my car after track practice. My honest reply was “I am laughing at you Colleen.” Seeing my sister striding towards my car in her preppy clothes toting a purse with the pattern of an Italian map, (Sidenote* every stitch of clothing and purse came from older sisters) amidst a parking lot full of casually dressed Cashton locals who were getting into their cars or driving off on a tractor (see Clare’s post), made me bubble with laughter. Replaying the scene in my mind makes me realize that I was laughing in part because I love my sister and all of who she is so very much. And in part, I was laughing because I am so glad for her that she is leaving Cashton, Wisconsin.
Colleen has been ready to go since she was, oh, about a freshman in highschool. While in high school she was a more than willing participant, and graduated from her class as a salutatorian. Beyond academic excellence, she excelled at cross country, track, drama, music and choir. Somehow through all this success she has remained refreshingly humble.
Colleen is the 7th child in our family line up. By the time she came along, my parents were pretty tired. Her happy sanguine nature was a God send from the time of birth. Initially, her days were spent sleeping or moving about the world in a happy contented state with a fat little thumb in her mouth. After she was born, Dad was in the middle of a major apple cider making session along with one of his good priest friends and a few other of his buddies. Because of the cider making situation, Mom was able to call her friend Barb, who is an amazing holy consecrated lay woman. Barb ended bringing Mom and Colleen home from the hospital to a dirty house full of excited older siblings and lots of fresh cider. To this day, when busy, we still do have the tendency to forget Colleen at times. When we take note of her though, all are excited by her cheerful company.
When I think of Colleen nowadays, I think of flowy skirts, gladiator sandals, beat up running shoes, music, milk-coffee, running, NPR, English, French, health food, and France. What I don’t think of when I think of my beautiful little sister is this:
That is minus a brief stint last year when our neighbors down the road took in a 15 year old French exchange student named Pierre. During this special period of life, Colleen became very interested in harvesting squash with Pierre.
In all seriousness, I am extremely honored to be this young lady’s big sister. Over the past year, I have loved running, baking, and sharing my secrets with Colleen. Her wisdom and delightful optimism has been an enormous gift to both myself and the entire family. Soon enough she will be able to share these gifts while growing more as a person in Dallas. Felicitations, Miss. Colleen Rose Slattery! My laugh goes to Texas with you. Sundays will not be the same. Nor will long runs without you pushing me, and our conversations of course. As for the harvest though- well, that will surely continue on without you!
All My Love, Your Big Sister,