A Birthday Present


By: Jane Beall
Assistant Field Hockey Coach

Just a heads up, I am about to abuse this forum for blatantly personal purposes.  I will discuss sports only in passing, and only for the purpose of crafting a metaphor or two.  But, then again, isn’t that what blogging is all about?  A little corner of cyberspace for verbose self-indulgence?

My sister Taylor

Well, today is a very important and special day.  It’s 11-11-11 and exactly thirty years ago, Antigua and Barbuda joined the UN.  Also, my sister, Taylor, was born.   My sister rules and she is my best friend.  You know those pillows that say, “God made us sisters, love made us friends?”  My sister and I make fun of that crap all the time.  And that’s what really makes us friends.

In honor of her birthday and her favorite number, here are 11 things about Taylor.

1. She will “like” this on Facebook.  She’ll probably be the only one, too.  And you know what?  She will genuinely like it, because she is my biggest cheerleader and thinks stuff I do is awesome.  At least once a week, I’ll call her with some kind of harebrained idea, like “I’m going to invent a coffeemaker for your car!” or communicate my new left-field life plan of rehabilitating sick elephants in Thailand, and Taylor’s responses will be, respectively, “Oh, I’d buy one of those!” and “I can’t wait to visit!”    Everyone should go through life knowing that at least one person thinks you are awesome.

2. Taylor doesn’t see the glass half full or half empty.  She just quietly goes to the sink and fills the glass back up.  She doesn’t wallow or complain, and she doesn’t deny there is a problem, she just goes and finds solutions.

3. She is the only person on planet Earth who can shop with me.  I am the worst to shop with when I have a particular item I need.  I can be – on the same shopping trip – both a frantically irate semi-human and uncooperatively catatonic.  When Taylor starts to see my mood barometer leaning toward one or the other, she can gently suggest that maybe I have lost a little bit of perspective and should probably get myself together.  And then we get iced coffee at Starbucks and a scene is averted.

4. I normally would send this to her to read and give feedback on like I do with everything else I have ever written in my life, but this post a surprise and comprises most of her birthday present (happy birthday, Taylor!) so if it’s sub-par, it’s because she has not given me her constructive notes.

5. My sister is one of the smartest people I know, hands down.  She was accepted at every college to which she applied, turning down Dartmouth to be an Echols Scholar at UVa.  By her third year, she was a part of the elite poetry program there and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in her third year.  She was accepted into UVa’s MFA program, which is ranked in the 4th most selective program in the country.  After realizing that fiction writing was not her passion, she left to pursue teaching.  Taylor now teaches IB English at a high school in Richmond and is crushing it.  She is dedicated, tough, and fair.  I hear her lesson plans and wish I could take her class.  I am comforted and optimistic about America’s youth knowing that someone like Taylor is out there on the front lines, educating them.

Here we are at Christmas time

6. Taylor can knit and crochet.  For Christmas, she is going to crochet me two panels.  One is going to say, “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose” (which is a famous phrase from one of our favorite shows, Friday Night Lights).  The other is going to say “Shut Your Whore Mouth.”  I plan on framing both, and putting them side-by-side in a place of reverence in my home.

7. She hates driving.  I hate passengering.  Another reason why we’re best friends.

8. One of our favorite things to do together on a beautiful Sunday is to go to an 11 AM movie that has been running for a couple of weeks and split a popcorn for our lunch.  We both appreciate the beauty of having an entire movie theater all to yourselves.  We also appreciate delicious popcorn.

9. When Taylor was a baby, she didn’t really ever crawl.  One day, she just started to walk upright like a civilized human.  It was the same thing with talking – when she was ready, she just started talking in complete sentences.  That is so typically Taylor.  When she decides to do something, whether it’s talking, walking, or putting together Ikea furniture, she does it excellently.

10. Taylor does not really like music and she hates watching sports, but she loves The Sing-Off and can name all of the pitchers in the Braves’ early-90’s pitching rotation.  The girl is a constant surprise.

11. We can tell each other anything, but we usually don’t have to.

Happy birthday, Taylor!


3 Responses to “A Birthday Present”

  1. 11-11-11 « Generals Field Hockey Says:

    […] out my post on the athletic department’s Sidelines Blog for the GFH blog post this week!  It has absolutely nothing to do with field hockey, but […]

  2. Megan Says:

    I love this, Jane. It is perfect and honest and I hope your big sister enjoyed it as much as I did, which is almost as much as I enjoyed your Christmas attire in that photograph.

  3. Slade Says:

    too cute Jane — and Happy late Birthday Taylor!

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