My Sister, Lexie, is number 17 on my list of the top 50 women who have made a huge impact on my life. As a celebration of going into my 50th year on this planet, I’m doing a little journey back through my life and paying tribute to the women who have surrounded me and made me into the woman I am today.
My sister Lexie has long been a woman I have admired and looked up to. I remember a story about her when she was quite young in grade school. (I apologize if all the details are not 100% correct but this is how I remember it going down.) Lexie was at an assembly with her fellow classmates and she was not particularly interested in the performance. She was fidgeting with a friend’s pen or something. One of the teachers whispered and demanded that Lexie hand it over. Lexie, even as a young as she was, looked into this adult’s eyes and calmly said, “I will put it away and not cause distractions any longer but you will not take away what is mine.” That story was so powerful to me. She was not being disrespectful with what she said, she was understanding that her fidgeting was distracting and she was willing to stop the problem, without succumbing to the punishment. She laughs when I remind her of this story because she said it wasn’t her pen and she didn’t want her friend’s property to be confiscated on her account. For me, this shows not only her confidence in herself to speak to an adult on such an equal level of authority as well as an integrity for her friend’s valuables.
Lexie has had this confidence and this ability to be very level headed and grounded throughout her life. Another experience I remember is one of her first boyfriends didn’t treat her up to the standards she had set for herself. Although we never discussed it, I watched Lexie resolve that she would never settle or allow anyone to treat her with disrespect and in return she would never treat anyone with disrespect. I watched this happen throughout her teenage years and throughout her life. At a very early age, she seemed to grasp life’s lessons quickly and be able to use them to propel herself into wisdom and maturity beyond her years.
Lexie took this confidence to an amazing level in her adult life. She found a passion for the outdoors and became a white water raft guide. To this day, she is by far my favorite guide on any river. She gives you a fabulous, adventurous ride…. All the while being extremely alert to keep you safe and make you feel confident of this safety. She is clear with her directions for you to participate in your whitewater adventure and knows how to overcome any time you may fall short in your participation…. For example, when we hit a big rapid…. I sometimes panic and freeze….. She continues to firmly call out the instructions to keep us all upright, she (of course) never panics and never points out where you have fallen short. If you go for a “swim”, she quickly and calmly locates you and gives instructions on what to do to keep yourself safe and gets you back in the raft quickly and efficiently without putting you or the rest of the boat crew in harm’s way. She is a pillar of leadership and confidence on the river and in life.
Her calmness is what I admire most. She has carried this into her parenting. She explains beautifully the questions of life to her children. I watch her take the time to make sure her children understand the facts she is explaining and does her best to make it as straightforward and without her own opinion or judgement as possible. She is calm and firm in what expectations she has of them…. Which includes their eating, reading, playing, sleeping and other activities schedules. Once when she had a babysitter the babysitter did not include a vegetable for their nightly meal, her son spoke up and let the babysitter know that he needed to have a vegetable with his dinner. Her children are a beautiful example of the love and confidence Lexie has blessed them with just by being herself, a beautiful example of these qualities.
Lexie was instrumental in assisting me in making changes in my life that I didn’t want to face. On one of my birthdays she asked if I would come to Montana and let all my sisters “surprise” me with a winter getaway. I agreed and we hiked, cross country skied, laughed and so much more. It was on this sister’s escape that I knew my future was about to change drastically. My birthday and “surprise” adventure was in January and by March of that year I had done the bravest thing I had ever done in my life…. I made a choice and took action to be the change I wanted to see in MY world. Lexie never once told me what I “should” do. She just invited me into a safe space, surrounded by my loving sisters and gave me a glimpse of the support that was available to me if I ever needed it….. And the next several years I would certainly need all of their support.
When I was going through this very dark time in my life. Lexie stepped in and let me borrow some of her confidence. She bought me books. Filled in for me as the oldest sister when it came to planning family events. She even gave me a plant to keep alive…. I’m not sure if she knew what she was doing with this one but I suspect she did. I knew if I could keep that plant alive, then I could keep myself alive….. And it still thrives to this day!!! I never felt judged by Lexie for a LOT of the questionable choices I had made in my life, she was simply there to catch me when I fell. She sat in that deep, dark hole with me while I grieved and never once said, “I told you so.”
Lexie also has an amazing gift of organization…. On all levels! From the way she parents, to her business and all the way through to being able to organize a Lofts Family Reunion or any Lofts get together…. And that’s like herding cats. She does it impeccably and with her calm, cool, confidence….. I’m sure her hubby gets to hear some grumbles about how difficult we can be when we all come together but I’ve never heard her breathe a word of discontent, just love for our family. She is so many things to our family and for me she is a wonderful sister and a fabulous aunt to my boys. She is probably the BEST behind the scenes person there is…. She makes sure everyone is having a good time and that everything is moving along flawlessly out front…. Even if behind the scenes, she is running repair. She is absolutely amazing in her ability to see and oversee things with an incredible sense of organization and stay calm in the midst of all the chaos.
Lexie has created a beautiful life for herself. She has a fabulous husband, a beautiful home, wonderful children, incredible business and continues to have phenomenal outdoor adventures. I look up to Lex in so many ways and admire her so much. Because she is my sister, because of her love for me, I have been changed for good. Thank you dear sister. I simply adore you.