One year, one sister

On January 11, 2013, I wrote my first blog post on the plane ride to Hawaii. I had found out about my mutation the day before a huge business trip and it was my outlet.

On January 11, 2014, I got to watch my baby sister marry a great guy, danced with my best friends and am still recovering my voice. And I'm not headed to Hawaii for the first time in more than 5 years. What a difference a year makes.

And amazingly not much has changed, but only become amplified.

I knew I was lucky to meet my husband when I did and have the relationship that we've had, but his support has been needed and appreciated immensely this year. And we still can't decide on kid #3 but at least we talk about it openly and with the same eventual goals in mind.

My family has always been pretty amazing. Definitely crazy, but amazing. And I think I can honestly say last Saturday was an amazing thing to watch one of my favorite people get married.

My sister is 6 years younger than I am. She's my baby sister. But this year she has become truly one of my best friends and a small part of that has been through my BRCA diagnosis.

The night I found out, Pat and I went right to my mom's and told my parents and my sister. She's very scientifically minded (bio major) and scheduled her genetic counseling appointment within days.

We discussed it at length. She knew my opinions on waiting until she was a little older and more settled but she also needed to do her own research and did so thoroughly.

She is waiting for now for her own reasons but that has not stopped her from going with me to appointments and support groups, from listening to me bitch about decisions or non-decisions, or from just being there. Her theory is to act as if she's positive until someone tells her otherwise and that mindset lets me feel like I've got someone in this fight with me, as much as I hope someday she is far from it.

So here's my speech from her wedding, where I had the honor of standing by her side:
Growing up, our mom's response to pretty much any fight was: don't fight with your sister (or brother). Someday that's all you'll have left. 

Now, when your 8 year old annoying little sister is sitting at your vanity that you NEED to look perfect for the CYO dance at 14, you don't necessarily listen. But if there's anything I have learned from my mom, it's persistence does pay off eventually and if you say something a bajillion times, it might eventually sink in. 

And your kids might not realize this until 10 years later when your entire family (and Anthony) are sprinting through the airport to make a flight to Chicago (that was supposed to just be you and that annoying little sister) or a couple years after that when you've all taken separate flights to Israel to watch said annoying sister win a silver medal in field hockey in the Maccabi games.
But most pointedly, when people ask that dreaded question when you're pregnant with baby #2 -- what do you want? Boy or girl? -- and you know asking for a sister for your daughter is more than you could hope for. 

I've watched you grow up, Dani-girl, and become an amazing woman. You've achieved so much already and I am so proud of you. You will only continue to achieve more and more as the years go by. 

And I've watched you fall in love twice. Once was a teenager's sweet little love and once slowly and with daily devotion. But both times with the same guy. And besides that whole are-we-related scare the first go round and the letting Joe and Pat torture him the second time, Andy has proven he is holding his own in this crazy family. So, thank you, Andrew for being there when she called years later, for always taking care of her and accepting her always for better or worse -- which really means for spandex or sweatpants -- and for truly becoming a part of our family we can rely on. 

At my wedding, you said we never thought we'd find guys as great as our dad and while nobody is quite Daddy, I think you did pretty damn good.
Love you, Dani.


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