Several weeks ago Jeff and I went to Montana to visit his family. I know, I know…that is so Brokeback Mountain of us. Actually, while I can assure you that neither of us were herding any sheep, it wasn’t exactly like going on a gay cruise either.
Montana really is a beautiful state. It boasts some of the most open spaces in the country. I guess that’s why they call it “Big Sky” country. This is the second trip I have made to the “Treasure State.” The first was during the summer of 2006. It was during that first trip that I met Janine. And, I can’t talk about Janine without first saying how much I adore her. In fact, that’s how I always start out any story about Jeff’s sister, “So, I got to talk to Janine on the phone…God, I adore her…anyway…”
When Jeff and I walked off the plane in Great Falls in 2006, Janine literally vibrated. I’ve never experienced such a welcome in my life. She was so excited to see Jeff and to meet me that she stood there and giggled…and shook. Of course, I immediately fell in love. How could I not? Anyone who shakes with excitement when they see me has to be on my list of favorite people.
Part of why I love her so much is that she has cerebral palsy. I have always had a soft spot for people with disabilities. Even as a kid, some of my friends at school had special needs, and my mom started her career at the local elementary school working with children who had special needs. The other reason I adore Janine so much is because of her non-complicated view of the world. At times, she does get frustrated by her limitations and does have the occasional temper-tantrum, she also says what’s on her mind.
Here is one particular conversation we had during this last trip…
“I like your coat.”
“I like your socks.”
“Thanks, they’re just brown socks.”
“I like your jeans.”
“Thank you, Janine.”
“I like you.”
“I like you, too.”
(Be sure to envision lots of shaking and giggling throughout the conversation.)
At this point, she proceeds to tell whomever is close by that she likes me. Janine is so good for my ego.