One of my earliest memories of Tsitsi sprinkling her fairy dust onto my life is from my 6thgrade. I brought home a maths problem that had subdued my entire class (including my teacher by the way) and within a minute, she subdued it! With hindsight, its easy to see why she was able to solve the problem with ease, but then, as an 11-year-old I was fascinated by her maths superpowers and she became my sure thing for all problems academic. She may not have noticed but I became a believer, following her on her trips to a library at the local sports club and devouring the books that she had gone through and enjoying it. These excursions led to my introduction to novels and loved the same authors she liked like David Baldacci, Sydney Sheldon and Francine Rivers. Soon our conversations were about our exciting reads. In high school, she remained an active participant in my enlightenment, taking precious time to teach me and various other cousins during the school holidays. Main subject was obviously either science, biology, chemistry, math but was always careful not to bore her with the stuff that needed long winding answers 😊. The result? I always looked like a genius when schools opened and felt like one too. No wonder everything always went smoothly for me in school.
This pouring into me continued into my own adulthood with her always being there for me. This came in the form of taking me on my 1st camping, visiting me twice when I was in Texas and always being there when I needed a friend and sister to lean on (I would need a whole book for all that she did for me!). Despite that life has thrown a few wedges between us i.e. being born 9 years and 3 siblings apart, separated by country borders and recently by the Atlantic and Indian oceans, we have always felt connected and I cherish this every day and it is testament to the kind of sister Tsitsi is, one who is always there. Always! Even if you decide to get married in a few days, she’ll bring you your perfect weeding cake 😊.
So when I think about her birthday, I cannot even decide what is worthy of a celebratory gift for her. I would say celebrating her is so exciting. It is one of those occasions I get to pour back into her a little of what she gives of herself to me daily. I cannot think of a better model of a sister, one more dedicated, more selfless, more loving, more concerned about others than herself and more importantly, willing to act on her convictions than Tsitsi.
For all Tsitsi has done perhaps the best description of who she is lies in the name my husband coined for her. After repeated exposure to her selflessness and her willingness to make things happen for others, he concluded she was a fairy. Not a fairy because she had a wand and enchanting spells like what my daughter thinks, but because her heart and hands were always outstretched in acts of perpetual love and generosity. And in true fairy style, when she’s not busy making things happen for everyone else, she’s doing something only fairies would do like scaling the Kilimanjaro, visiting the Whitehouse, camping in the desert or walking with lions.
Happy 40thmy dear sister! We thank God for the gift that you are and celebrate your being, your love and the blessing that you are. The saying goes life begins at 40, I can only imagine what’s in store for you given how much you have already accomplished.