Lately I’ve realised that the most significant things I have in my life are not things, but people and the experiences we’ve shared (and, mostly, the lessons they’ve taught me). I sometimes worry that the amazing people in my life don’t realise how much I appreciate them; it is not that I am glad to have them in my life, I am grateful that they have me in theirs. I can’t name everyone in a single post but I want to share the gratitude I have for a particular person to whom I am very close.
My baby sister is a very special person, and not really much of a baby. Eddie will be 25 next month and I’m quite shocked at how quickly we have both aged. When we were younger I was very protective of my little sister, and now that we’re older I’m still pretty protective of her – and she’s protective of me. We argue and bicker, and we definitely get annoyed with each other: we’re sisters. And we’re friends.
One of my sister’s many talents is photography and today is the first of four where I get to sit behind a table (actually, three tables) and tell the passing public at our local shopping centre about how wonderful she is – if they don’t see that themselves from her photos on display. Eddie has a unique ability to look for little things others would trample. She walks along and points out the bird’s nests and the snakeskins and the sunbaking lizards; I clomp about admiring the trees. Eddie has an amazing perspective that makes you aware of how unique and fragile the world is – which blends with another of her special abilities: love for animals.
I have a story I like to tell when I try to explain my sister and her strong opinions regarding animal welfare. We were in a shopping centre and saw a pet store advertising hand-reared Rosella birds. Upon seeing the bird, my sister’s face paled and she looked ready to throw punches – this is a girl who normally avoids confrontation at all costs. According to her (and her opinion on such matters is backed up with theoretical and practical knowledge from her study and work), the colourful bird was exhibiting “typical stressed-out behaviour” which the ignorant sales girl called “dancing”. A bird like this would normally sell for about $100 and – with this professional knowledge – my sister decided to ‘rescue’ it and take it to our grandmother’s house (aka the place for all animals who deserve to be taken care of until their bellies explode). The store was selling the Rosella for an exorbitant $270.
It took some time (two hours) to convince her that paying for the bird would simply support an already questionable business, and they would get another in by the end of the week. Eddie’s protest was a fiery glare as she said forcefully: “If I can spend that much getting my hair done, I can spend it to save a life”.
Eddie works in a pet store herself – an independently owned pet store with some very strong policies as to who they sell animals to or not. When she encounters a not-so-ethical pet store, she seizes up with anxiety and it’s best for us to steer her in another direction. So strong is her love for animal life, so loyal is she to the ‘little things’, that I envy her strong, unwavering beliefs.
To my sister, I am grateful for the lessons she has taught me in compassion and in gentle observation. She is not forceful, rarely confrontational, and tends to overlook things that aren’t perfect for the sake of not getting caught up in negative “stuff”. Eddie focuses on the little things – the wonderful little things.