If you read Trish’s blog on a regular basis, you know that often for family birthdays she writes a blog for one of us that makes us sound better than we really are. The problem with this set up is that Trish can’t write a birthday blog for herself about how great she really is. There are words for people who do those kinds of things and they are not very nice. As part of my gift to her this year, I’m guest writing her birthday blog. She deserves it.
Yesterday Trixie (as we affectionately call her) turned 44. How can that be? She is one of those ageless people, don’t you think?
Trish is 8 ½ years older than me and has influenced me in more ways than I can
recount here. When I was a young girl, Trish was one of the most constant companions in my life (and she still is). She coached my teams, played endless hours of catch with me, occasionally picked me up to skip school and took me for weekends to sleep at her dorm at Calvin. She made my life seem special and exciting. Anything was possible with her. One of the gifts of motherhood for me has been to watch this same thing transpire in the lives of my own children. With Aunt Trish, all things are possible.
A few years ago I purchased one of the compilations of NPR’s StoryCorps Project. I came across a quote in that book that summarized what aunts are for. It says: “Aunts are to be… a delight to boys and girls and a comfort to their parents; and to show that at least one daughter in every generation ought to remain unmarried, and raise the profession of auntship to a fine art.” Fine art is exactly what she is. Just ask any one of those charmed nieces and nephews.
One of our affectionate jokes about Trish is about her love for words. Words are everywhere – in her house, her office….this blog. She lives her life through words. I understand that. The words help us make sense of who we are and what happens around us. So, in honor of her birthday, I came up with 44 words to describe her. Most of them are nice. Sometimes when my parents go to a memorial service, they come home and say that the eulogies were so glowing that the person would not have recognized themselves. Although this is not a memorial service, I do hope Trish will recognize herself. I added some comments, but restrained myself from commenting on every last one. So, here we go.
1. resilient: In “Tattoos on the Heart” Gregory Boyle says “Sometimes resilience arrives in the moment you discover your own unshakeable goodness.” I think Trish has discovered this about herself and it has allowed her bounce back time and time again from heartache or struggle. Do you know that she almost died at birth? It was the first of many obstacles that she has had to overcome. Resilient almost seems like a flimsy word for this woman. I’m so grateful she survived.
2. loyal: Don’t cross someone she loves (including Dutch). You might be sorry.
3. faithful: She has a seemingly unshakeable faith in her creator and redeemer. And she is always pointing back to Him and his faithfulness to her.
5. silly: Have you ever gotten the silent giggles with Trish? It’s an experience I would recommend having before you die.
6. extravagant: Not in a diamonds and Gucci bags kind of way, but in an iPod for every niece and nephew kind of way.
7. generous: See number 6. But also generous with herself – her time, her attention, her space, her love. We all love the gifts, but it is the latter generosity that is more valuable. Hands down.
11. spoiler: In that she likes to spoil people. When I was first pregnant with Peter, her shower gift to me what a massage for each of the nine months I was pregnant. Spoiled, indeed.
14. creative: Trish might laugh when she sees this adjective because she is not known as the “crafty” one in our family. But she is creative in her own way. Her slide shows are always lovely. And she is creative in the way she thinks. Who ever dreamed of a Tapestry Party until Trish came along?
16. celebrator: I’m not even sure this is a word, but it should be. Trish loves to celebrate the goodness and milestones in life. She is a walking party.
17. loud (sometimes): Loud in the best kind of way. She just has a few shy-ish nieces and nephews who cringe at their sporting events when she cheers for them by name.
19. delighter: One of my favorite parts about a night when Trish watches our kids is to come home and listen to her recount all that happened. She delights in them. That may be one of the best gift she gives all of us. We are smarter, brighter, funnier in her delighted presence.
22. negotiator: When the kids were smaller, at the beginning of a cottage vacation week she would gather them and chair a meeting. In that meeting they would make a plan for the week and agree on some ground rules. Master negotiating with the toughest demographic.
23. directionally challenged: She was likely the first person in the country to own a GPS and it may have saved her life.
29. unafraid: Trish and I have a shared love for singer/songwriter Sara Groves. In one of her songs she writes “Sit down awhile and share your narrative with me. I’m not afraid of who you are.” Trish is not afraid of who you are and what you struggle with. She can sit with someone in their grief, their mess, their brokenness, their dying, and be unafraid.
30. sticky (like glue): She holds our family together. I don’t think I could overstate this. She calls us. She plans things. She invites kids to sleepover. She calls us. She writes clues at Christmas time. She goes to kids’ sporting events. She calls us. She makes family dinner. She drives to Chicago. She drives to Detroit. She drives to Muskegon. She calls us. Need to know what is going on in the Borgdorff clan? Ask Trish.
32. available: Trish has a gift of being available to help without making you feel like you are inconveniencing her in any way. In fact, I often feel like I did her a favor by letting her help me. She is that nice about it.
34. eloquent: If you read this blog, you know it’s true.
41. flexible: More in spirit than body. She can “roll with it” with the best of them.
44. loved: Oh so very loved. She must hold some sort of record for Facebook friends. There is something magnetic about Trish and her perspective on life – people want to be a part of her circle. And she will always take you in.
We have been fortunate, by birth, to be born into the same circle. I can’t even imagine who we would be without Trish. We love her so.Happy Birthday, sweet sister. I wish you every good thing in the coming year. May you experience the same generous joy and grace that you extend to those around you. Whatever this year holds, know that you are loved for all that you are and that you will never walk alone.