thirty-two years ago, on january 3, 1977, melissa dawn prater came into my life and into the home i shared with my parents, david and martha, along with my sister jennifer. i remember where jenn and i stayed when mom and dad rushed to the hospital to have her here in richmond, ky. i remember the phone call from dad that we had a sister. and, frankly, i thought she was going to be a boy. she definitely rocked our world. the girl has got spirit and she even had it as a baby!!! i love her more than anything else in this world. there is nothing like family's love to warm you. and, nothing quite like a sister's love. so, it's your birthday, little miss. here's looking at you and thirty-two reasons we celebrate you. actually, here are thirty-two possibly little-known facts about my little sister.....
1. melissa dawn prater came into this world weighing a whopping 9lbs 10oz
2. dad wanted to change her name from melissa dawn to midnight to dawn as she had her days and nights mixed up
3. her hair had a reddish tint as a baby and our dad loved it!!!
4. there were only twenty-one months between jenn and melissa. they were like little pups, had to be together, whether playing or squabbling
5. at some point, she came to be known as missy or little miss to family and close friends
6. she loved the outdoors as a youngster
7. she was in love with the gill brothers across the street, dj and zachary. she did not keep these feelings hid and neither did jenn for that matter!!!
8. she loved her big wheel. she was not afraid of speed or oncoming traffic
9. quite often being the oldest, i was left "in charge". missy would frequently tell me with a spirit of rebellion, "you ain't my mom and you ain't my boss"
10. she knocked out 1 and a 1/2 teeth during some rough and tough play in the driveway. she wore a silver spacer until her permanent teeth came in. she seemed proud of it
11. little miss was a tomboy, but was also a beautiful little girl. sound like anyone else we know.....lauren grace??
12. she had an alter ego as a child--betty lou. "betty lou" was a frequent visitor in our home. she wore rather large sunglasses, costume jewelry, and brightly colored scarves
13. she was a sleep walker and talker at many a slumber party, often her own. this was quite often entertaining
14. another big sister/little sister moment i'll never forget.....she looked at me one time in the heat of the moment and said, "shell, i can't wait to someday i'm the older one and you the little one!!!" love it.....
15. she suffered 3rd degree burns in a restaurant while vacationing in gatlinburg, tn. not a scar today
16. our mom was an elementary teacher at the christian school where we three girls attended in pennsylvania. missy was often "sick" and wanted to go to mom's classroom to get better. think that's called mommyitis
17. missy was highly, highly decorated in our church's caravan program. still see the sash with all those badges
18. as a toddler, if missy was quiet and no longer seen, it meant you needed to run and find her fast!!!
19. believe it or not, missy had quite the temper as a child. the temper is gone, but that fighting spirit is still there!!!
20. i accidentally ran over her, yes, literally ran over her once on my bicycle. i was spanked for it and to this day, if you haven't already noticed, she does not ride a bike. shhh, don't tell her kids.....
21. at a fairly young age, she found a fresh pumpkin we had at home. and, within a couple hours, we had homemade pumpkin pie made completely from scratch. delicious!!! she is still just as talented in the kitchen today
22. she pats her foot when she is thoroughly enjoying her food. this happens alot
23. she has the most adorable toes!!!
24. she used to be obsessed with tanning. sorry, miss
25. she served on two mission trips. one to nicaragua and the other to argentina. during one of this trips, she did not remove her contacts for a couple of months.
25. she fell in love with a boy named douglas aaron rex. and, she's still in love with him today
26. she loves wildflowers. skip the roses
27. she is not crazy about driving, especially on the interstate. give her some back roads and she'll be fine
28. she is the most AMAZING mother to caleb james, lauren grace, and little audrey jane!!!
29. she had to have her toenails freshly painted before the birth of each of her three little ones
30. she prays with her children every night before bedtime
31. she is in love with jesus and wants to tell you about it!!!
32. she is simply divine. she is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, and friend!!!
you are simply the best, missy. we love you and we celebrate you and what you mean to each of us today and every day!!! happy birthday!!!