A Birthday

Twenty-four short years ago, a tiny little peanutty baby was born in Austin, TX. I was two at the time. Two years and three months, to the date, to be exact. Though I'd like to pretend I remember her arrival, I don't. I have a good memory, but I don't claim to be any kind of super human who remembers a time before they could even talk. Courtney Taylor Oertli came into our lives...my life...that day, and what a blessing it was.

From that day forward, I had a life-long companion and best friend in my little sister. We shared a bedroom, always had on matching outfits (let's talk printed tights, bedazzled t-shirts, white ruffly socks + keds another day) and were pretty much inseparable. She was always the loving one, the child that was protective of her mommy and daddy and tagged along with her big sis to learn the ropes. She cooperated and smiled. I didn't. I was stubborn and painfully shy and the combination of the two makes for a difficult child at times. Court was pleasant and always willing. We had good laughs with her as a toddler - referring to herself as "Tortney" to all she met. When anyone would then call her "Tortney" she would scream in a fit, "My name's not TORTNEY, it's TORTNEY!" Over and over again. In her head, she was saying it right and we all had it very wrong. She also refused to eat anything that she didn't think was chicken, so every food group quickly became chicken. If you told her it was, then she thought it was. I still laugh when I pass Golden Chick restaurants, because growing up they were called Golden Fried Chicken and Court would excitedly scream out anytime we passed one, "Momma we go to goldfriecheekin?" Just the sweetest little munckin ever. When she was about five, my mom gave her a short haircut that maybe wasn't the most feminine thing ever, and I can remember one time going to Sonic and rolling down my window for the waitress when she asked me to hand the drink over to my little brother. I died laughing and didn't correct her. Court quickly burst into tears.."I'M NOT HUR BRUDDER I'M HUR SISTUR!" Poor little thing. I think she had a bit of a complex for a while after that.

A couple of years later, our next sister, Jordan, was born. I was pushing ten years old at the time and Court had just turned seven. I had become the annoying, antagonizing big sister at this point. I got babysitting duties from time to time, and as soon as the parents were out of the house, I quickly deferred them to poor Court. "Hey, see how fast you can run into the kitchen and get Jordan's bottle for me. I'll time you and give you a quarter if you make it in less than 10 seconds." She did it, willingly, every single time. Servant's heart, you guys, I tell ya. She changed diapers and dealt with our new baby sister whenever she was being anything but pleasant (because hello, I totally had it on lock when she was sleeping or maybe smiling and laughing). She was just the best little sister to me at all times. Even after I stuck a hanger through the back of her overalls and hanged her up in the closet and shut the door one day. I just wanted to see if I could, y'all. Is that so wrong of me? It was successful and she flailed around dangling by her overalls in her closet for a few minutes before I took her down. I might have gotten in a bit of trouble for that one.

Anyway, I could go on and on with a zillion stories about how wonderful of a blessing Courtney Taylor Oertli (now Vaughan) has been for the 24 years she's been on this planet. She's always smiled, given her all, loved those around her, influenced us all, made us laugh and been a hero to those who are close to her. She excels in everything she does and walks in faith of the Lord each day. She has accomplished so many things over the years - excelling in academics, receiving a full-ride scholarship to play Division 1 volleyball at Villanova University, becoming an RN and now a wife. Her kind, servant's heart has touched all who know her and is such a blessing to the children she works with each day in the Pediatric ICU. She gives selflessly and endlessly and is the most genuine, soft-spoken, silly, caring, loving person I know. She's THE most wonderful little sister, big sister, daughter, wife, nurse, caretaker, blessing, friend and soon-to-be Aunt CoCo around.

If you see her today, give her a big hug and a high five. Maybe a shove or a flick. Whatever your taste is. Today is her day and we're all SO lucky to have her around for another year. She makes everything better. She's my hero and role model and is everything I want to be when I grow up. :) Love you, sister. Hope you know how much you're loved and adored!

So, to our favorite Courtney, Tortney, Shortney, Boo, Barracuda, Cudabear, Oertli, Dertle, Babe (ok, so I don't know what Dustin calls you so I just had to guess there):

 HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY 24TH BIRTHDAY! Wish I could be there with you to celebrate. I hope it's just the best ever.

**PS: If you want a taste of how amazing her heart is, watch this highlight video from her wedding a few months ago. In the beginning of the video, she's reading a snippet from a journal she kept to her "future husband" for years before she met Dustin. He had NO idea. It played over the speakers of the church before she walked down the aisle. AMAZING! She's just the best.

Watch the wedding video HERE.

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