The L out of SLAM

Note: I started the note about Julia and Josh before this piece – then felt I should complete this piece first. Sorry, kids. There’s a pecking order <3

As the only girl in SLAM, Lydia enjoyed a different life than the boys. I shared a room with Steve and Mark. Lydia, on the other hand, enjoyed the benefits of having her own room.

I often wondered what it would be like to have my own room. With a door that I could shut when I needed a moment of calm – a rarity in the Plaat household. Lydia enjoyed this privilege and used it to her advantage.

Lydia and I shared a special friendship through both our childhood and adult years. We went off the rails a bit during our teenage years, however. We both wanted to make friends outside of our family and that was the first time either one of us experienced being the outsider when the other sibling had friends over.

I loved spending time with Lydia. She always knew how to put a smile on my face and shared a lot of laughter with me.

One memorable occasion involved an afternoon of sibling trickery. One of my favorite pranks to pull on my siblings involved hiding in the closet and surprising them when they walked into the room, or opened the closet.

This yielded for several interesting stories. Mark, of course, remembers his quite well. We’ll get to those coconuts later…

As children, we were herded to the local Vacation Bible School (VBS) programs at our church. During these programs, we’d be entertained with goofy characters on stage, each playing a role in faith-driven performance…

More importantly, we were introduced to “Dr. Scream” by a children’s pastor by the name of Judy. Dr. Scream’s key gimmick involved standing on stage and letting out her name, followed by a scream in a draconian accent:

“I am, Dr…Dr….Dr. Scream!”

The character inspired a lot of laughs. At one point, it must have seemed inspirational to Lydia, who calmly entered the room as I hid silently in the closet.

The room was quiet for a few moments, before I heard Lydia, repeating:

“I am, Dr…Dr….Dr. Scream!”

What a surprise Lydia was in for to see her little brother, laughing to the point of tears, while she practiced her opening line for the role of Dr. Scream in front of her mirror.

Some things, you really can’t make up. I’ve since learned it’s not nice to hide in closets and Lydia’s accent has gotten much better.

As we grew into our adolescent years, Lydia and I grew apart. She had the joy of finding a new best friend and that put some distance between us both. I didn’t have many friends at the time and felt left out.

In middle school, when I found a group of friends, they thought it would be funny to make fun of Lydia for her acne. At the time, I remember the words coming out of our mouths like daggers into her heart as she swallowed back tears.

Lydia and I have since spoken about the incident and she was gracious enough to accept my apology. I admitted that I failed her as both brother and her friend. She forgave me.

In my late 20’s, my face broke out. Badly. Karma never forgets.

Lydia and I grew into our opposites as we got older. She was always the sensible one between the two of us, while I’m the one suggesting a convertible rental over economy.

One of our biggest differences; having a family. She has two children while I maintain child-free living into my 30’s.

We’ve learned to appreciate the lifestyle the other carries. Lydia enjoys the occasional glass of champagne with me, while I get part-time visits to the Zoo with small children. It works.

Today marks her 11-year anniversary to the day she lost her last name and I gained a brother in Tyler.


The date made stop and think about her, while reminding me of the many moments we’ve shared together that have helped each other along in our journey.

Of all the moments, one stood out to me the most. It was the day where I had never seen her look more beautiful.

Lydia has always had a beautiful head of thick brown hair. Prior to delivering her first child, Lydia made sure her hair was properly washed, conditioned, and styled.

The result? Flawless baby photos once Ronin, her first, was delivered. The photo contained Lydia, holding her first child while sporting hair that should have been in a Prell  commercial.

She embraced motherhood with an incredible attitude. I’ve never once heard her complain about her new obligations as a mother. She’s a world-class mother.

A few months after his birth, I flew to Ohio to see Lydia and meet the newest member of their family.

Walking into their living room, I paused to see Lydia sitting on a rocking chair, holding Ronin in her arms. She looked up at me, smiling with tired eyes I hadn’t seen on her before. Her face had a type of peace that only comes from a sleeping baby.

She sat on the rocking chair and invited me to hold Ronin. Pausing, I looked at Lydia and saw an undeniable joy in her eyes as she held her firstborn son.

She couldn’t have looked more beautiful.


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