Sunday, December 6, 2009

Miss America

That's what we've called her since she was a baby-- Miss America.

My Middle Sister, aka Miss America, is celebrating her fiftieth birthday December 7th, and for the life of me, I simply cannot figure out how that happened! Well, of course I can, but it's hard for me to imagine 50 years has passed since Miss America arrived in our family-- Especially since I don't generally admit to being over 47 years old myself. Which, considering I'm 20 months older is, well, nothing short of "new math". Ha!

A family friend dubbed her Miss America the moment he saw her as a baby and sings the song every time he sees her even to this day. She was a stunningly beautiful child-- Beautiful blond hair with curls down her back. And today, fifty years later, she's still stunning on the outside AND the inside as well.

Middle Sister is the Mom to this guy who's nearly 21 years old now. He came home from hospital after he was born wrapped in this stocking a few days before Christmas. He's a sweetheart of a kid. Hard to imagine she has a son who's nearly "legal" now. Sheesh.

More kids than her son have been touched by her beauty and kindness. Middle Sis is an special education teacher with the patience of a saint. She's the teacher all the moms want their kids to have in school.

Middle Sis volunteers a tremendous amount in her community including training Service/Therapy Dogs at her home. This year, she made arrangements with the school to bring her current dog to work with her one week per month. The dog, named Vinny, is a labrador-poodle mix that has a huge, positive effect on the kids and makes classroom time far more productive and enjoyable for them. Middle Sister knew it would and went out of her way to make it happen. It's been life changing for some of the students.

Middle Sis also taught Vinny how to remove clothes from the dryer one piece at a time-- a little volunteer perk that will help his eventual owner enormously. If she can teach a dog how to fold and put the clothes away, her title will go from Miss America to Miss Universe in my book!

In the past fifty years, Middle Sister has been the very generous "go-to" person in our family for countless favors ranging from school car pooling to helping pack and move houses and apartments more times than any of us can remember. She's also the Auntie at ALL the after school concerts and activities driving near and far to attend.

And make no mistake, Middle Sister the Queen of Concert-going--

Especially if this guy is playing. It's country singer Keith Urban and she's totally crushing on him. I made this picture especially large as a little 50th birthday present for her.

Middle Sis is the voice of sibling reason who always offers a shoulder to cry on or a sympathetic ear to vent to. But the things I love most about her are, her smile and grace that light up a room, her sense of humor that will have you falling on the floor with a perfectly timed roll of the eyes, and her heart-- It's bigger than you could ever imagine.

Yep, she's our family's very own Miss America and today she's fifty. But, she's not thrilled about turning fifty anymore than I was so I'm trying to ease her into it.

Hey Sis, repeat after me-- 50, 50, 50, 50, 50 and FABULOUS!

Happy Fifth Birthday Middle Sister. I love you!

Do you have nicknames for your siblings?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna

64 comments:

  1. Happy fiftieth to your sister! Sounds like you're just as lucky to have her as she is you.

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  2. A very happy birthday to your sister. I am sure your kind words are testament to the fabulous person that is Miss America :)

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  3. Oh yay! What a beautiful, touching and fitting tribute to your sister. I was going to say that if she is Miss America then you most definitely are Miss Universe... but you snatched that witty retort right away from me with Vinny's laundry folding/putting away deal.

    And speaking of Vinny... how wonderful that your sister is involved with service dogs - especially since she shares the experience with her classroom and they benefit so much. That's brilliant. Last year when my daughter was a senior at Nease High School (did I mention she went to school with Tim Tebow?) she had a class with a girl that was training a service dog. That dog went EVERYWHERE with the girl. The dog even participated in commencement ceremonies and had her own cap and gown. It was neat.

    Anyway, Joanna - you certainly are blessed with an amazing sister. Looks like that sort of thing runs in your family.

    But clear one thing up for me... is she five or fifty? LOL

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  4. Happy birthday to Middle Sis! She sounds like someone we could all benefit from knowing.

    Seeing how I'm older than both of you, let me honestly say life gets better and better. I wouldn't go backwards in time - even to yesterday.

    Nicknames? I have nicknames for EVERYONE! Absolutely everyone. ;)

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  5. Isn't it strange that we get along with the fact that our friends get old with us but not our younger siblings. I've always found it difficult to accept that my sis is now 23 and a lady and not the notorious brother beating 7 year old whom I used to run away from!

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  6. A very happy birthday to your Middle Sister! Hope she has a fabulous day! You have spoken so highly of her that I would love to meet her. What a heart she has! You are blessed. And she is blessed to have you in her life as well.
    Yes I have nicknames..most I can put here. LOL! One I have is for my baby brother, Mark. I called him Markiefoofer! Don't know why..just did.
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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  7. Your sister sounds like a special person! I´m dreading that big 5 "O" as well and can feel for her! :)
    But Happy Birthday to Miss America!

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  8. Hope your sister has a great 50th - your love for her beams from your words. Also - How cute is our "Aussie Keith".

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  9. Happy Birthday to Miss America! Repeat after me... Fabulous, Fierce and Fifty! I just saw a card today at Paper Source that read, "Happy 50th Birthday... to your older sister you will always be six." :)

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  10. Happy 50th Birthday to your darling sister, Joanna.

    My brothers and sister had nicknames for me, I was the baby of the family, spoilt rotten by mum, and the siblings were not very happy about that when we were kids, so the nicknames were not very flattering.

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  11. Happy Birthday to your sister. What a wonderful tribute you wrote for her!

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  12. What a wonderful post and an awesome tribute to a caring and dedicated individual. How lucky for you and the children she cares for that she is in your lives. We have 2 special ed teachers in our family and I understand all that the profession requires.

    Happy Birthday to your sister!

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  13. Happy Birthday to Miss America! She does strike a lovely pose as a young girl in the photo. You know her well so if you say she is all these things in this post she deserves to move up a notch to at least Miss World. She sounds like a super human being (like our very own Joanna). Do you have a photo of the dog she is training, would like to see Vinny. The dentist I saw while still in San Diego had a therapy dog she brought to dentist office for my appointments to help my nervousness and she took that dog on trips to hospitals to help people there too. Loving, gentle dog. Anyway, this is a truly moving tribute to your middle sister.

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  14. "The teacher all mom's want their kids to have in school" is such a simple and beautiful tribute. Add Miss America and all the rest and you have a super sister. Happy
    50th to her.

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  15. Fabulous tribute to your wonderful sister on turning 50! Remember, it's only a number...I kept telling myself that years ago..LOL! She sounds like she has already made Miss Universe status to many already..Happy Birthday!

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  16. Ah, that's such a nice thing to write about your sis. Will you be my sister the next time I turn 50?

    Sending lot of good thoughts her way today!

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  17. What a wonderful birthday post and she sounds just lovely. I'm so impressed with her training service dogs - that's something I would love to do some day. Happy Birthday to her!

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  18. Happy Birthday Sis!!
    My own sis will be 50 on New Year's day.
    Great tribute to your own Miss America!

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  19. happy birthday miss america! how often do you get to say that?!? sounds like you have a pretty wonderful sis, must run in the fam. smiles. the pic of the stocking is adorable!

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  20. Happy birthday to your sister!! She sounds like an angel!!!

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  21. Oh Joanna, that was wonderful! How we DO love our sisters! Happy Birthday to Miss America!
    I can't even teach Cute Hubby to do that dryer trick, btw.

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  22. Absolutely wonderful tribute to your Sis!

    Happy Birthday to her! :)

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  23. What a sweet post about your sister. She sounds like a wonderful person.

    Happy Birthday Miss America!!

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  24. Happy Birthday Miss America!

    I do have a nickname for my oldest brother, although it didn't start out as one. It's just that I couldn't pronounce his name. First it was Gaggy, then I shortened it to Gag, then somehow it morphed into Galg which has stuck throughout the years. His real name is Jerry.

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  25. Happy birthday to Miss America! She sounds like someone I wish I knew and could hang out with.

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  26. What a nice way to say Happy Birthay to your sister! She sounds terrific; but then, she had you as a role model!

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  27. What a great post! Happy birthday to Miss America!

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  28. Miss America Happy Birthday!

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  29. Earlier this year, my oldest daughter turned 50. Now THAT is a life-defining moment!
    Beautiful tribute to your sister!

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  30. Many happy returns to her. She sounds like a good sort to have as a sister.

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  31. It certainly sounds as if those fifty years have turned her into a most wonderful person!!! Happy Birthday to your sister!

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  32. Ah - I turned 5 last week too! Congrats to your sister: tell her the fities are the new thirties!

    I call my middle sister 'hot lips' and my brother 'wiggly eyebrows'... (Don't ask!)

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  33. Special educators deserve a special place in heaven. What a wonderful post for your sister!

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  34. Happy Birthday to your Sis!!!!!

    Now I want her to come train my dogs to do laundry...

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  35. I have only a brother so I do know that this sister, turning 50, is truly blessed to have you for a sister. Happy birthday to her - may every year the rest of her life be as special as she is.

    One of her best gifts is YOU.

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  36. What a sweet tribute to your sis. Happy Birthday to Miss America. :)

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  37. I wish I had a sister. But my brother is a cutie.
    I called him Rufty for years .

    I'd be proud to be either of you, for how she lives, and how you honour her.

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  38. Oh! what a blessing. I wish her a long, prosperous and healthy life :)

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  39. December 7th has always been a special day for me x x x

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  40. Happy Birthday to Miss America and while she is obviously quite a lady and you are lucky to have her as a sister, I have no doubt that she would have an equally wonderful list of attributes for you. Hope she has a great day!

    My brother and I lost our "middle" brother about 14 years ago. When it happened, he and I became very close. He was still in high school at the time, so I started calling him, "Kid" and it stuck. :-)

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  41. Wow...What a sweet birthday message for your sister! And Keith Urban looks delicious. yum.

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  42. Happy Birthday Middle Sis! That was a great way to wish her a great day. (I forgot to send my brother a card.)

    And I don't have a nickname for my brother nor does he have one for me. (That I know of.) The kids in school called him Spock due to his love of Star Trek. And his BFF was Spaceman.

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  43. wowza...such a loving tribute to your "miss america"...really touching. i wish i was that close to my sister! happy birthday to her, from this 50 year old! and i'll tell Kieth she says "HI" next time I bump into him...we live in the same town...right, like i really bump into him! not! but, we DO live in the same town.

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  44. She sounds like a great woman! It must run in your family. I seem to be the voice of reason in my family. Scary, isn't it!

    Happy birthday to your Sis!

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  45. Thank you, everyone, for your birthday wishes. My big sis is an amazing person, as you all know. I am blessed to have her. We did not always get along growing up. In fact for much of high school we never spoke. She has been my guiding light through most of my adult life. She rescued me during a horrible marriage, divorce and a move back to our hometown. I would not be here if not for her. She is truly the best.
    I am not that wonderful teacher she claims I am, but I sure try. My son and I have Vinny for one week a month to socialize him. He does receive most of his training at a low security women's prison. They get the most credit for his training. Vinny is a super dog. He has enriched our lives here. My son takes him to his college classes with him when he is not at school with me. Vinny leaves us at the end of the month to continue his training and meet his person. We will miss him so much!!! However, we do have a new puppy to look forward to.
    Again, thank you for the birthday wishes. I have yet to stop crying. This was a great way to end the day!!!!!

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  46. Oh, how could I forget, I love Keith Urban. I was lucky enough to meet him this summer before a concert. He is an amazing performer, and a truly nice person. Go to his concert if you ever get a chance, he is amazing on stage, easy to look at. How does that song go?... it's meeting the man of your dreams, then meeting his beautiful wife.

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  47. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful sister and she is so lucky to have you!!!

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  48. Joanna,

    Happy Birthday to your sister. She sounds like a true gem among the stars. Being a teacher and touching so many others makes her all the more special.

    I would love to see how she trains Vinny. Maybe he can do my laundry too.

    I'm sure you're so proud of her, and you should feel very lucky to have her in your life.

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  49. Awww what a wonderful tribute to your sister..what a wonderful sister!! May her Birthday be filled with people who love her as much as you do!! Sounds like you are both blessed!! Hugs to you, Sarah

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  50. Hope your sister has a great birthday!

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  51. if she reads your blog comments - happy birthday!! if she doesn't read these comments I sure you can pass it along.
    I remember you commented about our new grand-dog being a labradoodle so now I see the connection. How many does she train per year?

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  52. Lovely tribute to your Middle Sis! Hope her birthday and her year ahead are wonderful! The fifties are the best!

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  53. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your sister. My sister and I are only a year apart too... she is 52, me 51.

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  54. Happy Birthday to your sister, she just sounds lovely, it must run in the family. You can tell there is a special bond. Take care.

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  55. Nope, no nicknames. Very bland. lol. I'll be 50 in just 5 yrs and a few months! Time sure flies! I'd like to wish your sister a great BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY from Ohio! Yea! 50!

    Hope it's a spectacular year!

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  56. Beautiful tribute to "Miss America"!

    I was the baby of the family, at almost 52, not such a baby anymore.

    Have a great week!

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  57. Wow! You're sister sounds like an amazing woman -- it must run in the family.

    Seriously, what a great hero your sister is to help so many people.

    I hope she has a great day.

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  58. Happy birthday to your very young (even just a little younger than you) sister. It sounds like you two are very lucky to have each other :)

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  59. Whoo hoo hon..you are a winnnnner in the MHA giveaway..come on by and claim your prize..make sure to email me again with your address hon..whoot, Sarah

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  60. Happy Birthday to your sister! It's a good milestone. We never had any nicknames that stuck. I always wished I did, even for our cars or things we just weren't a family of nicknames.

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  61. Happy birthday, Miss America!! As for nicknames, not really; one of my brothers was a ten pound baby, the nurses in the hospital called him "Samson."

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  62. Happy belated birthday to your sister! And love your nickname for her. :)

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