Sister in laws are those sisters that were able to escape your childhood fights. They get to skip right to the good stuff. If you are really lucky, they become just like a REAL sister to you. Mikal Nielsen is one of those fabulous sisters-in-laws. Mikal has had a HUGE impact on my life in so many ways. Our relationship has a strange little twist and that twist is one of the reasons I have grown to love her so much.
Our relationship started off a little rocky but understandably so, you see way back decades ago…. two brothers married two sisters. As life progressed one of the brothers found himself single again. That was very fortunate for me as I fell head over heels in love with Trent Nielsen. So you see, my sister in law had an obligation to be very wary about someone taking her sisters place as her brother-in-law’s plus one. Little by little we became friends. We enjoyed many backyard BBQ’s, Sunday evenings watching Naked and Afraid episodes, camping and all sorts of holiday celebrations.
Much to my surprise she took some interest in some of the things I had been learning about at the time and we were able to have really fun discussions about the possibilities of past lives and other exciting alternative ways of thinking about this life. One day I received a text from her that quoted the song from the Broadway Musical, “Wicked”. It said…. “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” That message meant more to me than she will ever know. I felt so loved and so accepted. I asked her if she knew where that line came from and she told me she didn’t know. I told her it was from a song in my favorite musical. The next year I was able to surprise her with tickets for the show. It was so fun to spend the morning being sisters, getting brunch, seeing the show and jabbering like teenage girls about it afterwards. I know it wasn’t easy for her to accept me into her heart but I feel so honored that she includes me as a sister now.
There are so many things I admire about Mikal. The first I’ll mention is what a strong woman she is. Her life has not been easy but she is fiercely loyal to her family and there is no better mother on the planet. She bends over backwards to give her children the best opportunities in life. She loves them all fiercely and their success in life always has their mama’s championing spirit in their back pocket so that they feel they can accomplish anything.
I also admire her determination to be the best she can be at work. When she first got a job as a lunch lady she would tell me stories of how poorly the kitchen was managed and that they would run out of food for the kids. She was so upset and would work her booty off to make sandwiches when the regular food ran out. She became so frustrated with her manager not ordering enough food and not providing for the little elementary school kids that she risked her job and went to the district. I have never been so proud of another human in my life. She is a Lioness of Courage, and will stop at nothing to protect her Pride. Mikal has the biggest heart and absolutely loves the kids she feeds. The children and parents will never know the lengths that she goes to so that the kids are ensured a hot, healthy, filled with love lunch…. and so much more!
Mikal eventually changed schools but continued her love for the children she served. Every Friday she would send me a snap and tell me about the kids dancing in the cafeteria. She called it “Dance Party Friday” and the kids loved it! The lunch staff would turn on the music and celebrate the kiddos’ end of week.
Mikal is also a FANTASTIC cook so I often get to see pictures of the food the kids get for lunch. Turkey dinners! Delicious cinnamon rolls! And even scrumptious breakfast sandwiches for those kiddos that don’t get a breakfast at home. She has worked hard and is now managing her own school kitchen. The staff dresses up for holidays, they decorate the lunch room, continue to have dance party Fridays and serve our beautiful youth with LOVE and food. The children have no idea how lucky they are to have her in charge of their food.
But I know how lucky they are because I have been absolutely changed by the love that she shares with me. Loving me, choosing to accept me as a sister and sharing herself through her passion of serving children has had an incredible impact on me and I will never take our relationship for granted. Even though we don’t see each other a lot because of our busy lives, I absolutely adore Mikal, I light up when I get her Friday dance party texts and indeed….. I have been changed for good. Love you sister!