So here’s the thing.
I have a very full heart.
But when I think about everything I would love to tell everyone I’ve ever met (seriously. I love you.), I get tongue-tied and self-conscious and have poor grammar and misuse pronouns.
So instead, I write a blog post and then direct my loves to my blog, where they will find conciseness, eloquence, and subject-verb agreement.
Anyway. There’s this girl I’ve known my whole entire life who used to call me and my little sister Evil Twins. We know this was her secret nickname for us, her baby sisters, because we read her diary. So…accurate, I guess.
Today is my sister’s birthday. Happy birthday, aged cheese!
Unfortunately, she also lives too far away for a singing telegram, but not too far for our regular FaceTime lunch date so our daughters can stare at one another, try to feed each other banana slices and goldfish crackers, and say, “Hi!” over and over again, while my sister and I try to have a conversation around the more riveting one going on between toddlers. It’s unbearably cute.
But we weren’t always this close. Actually, my most tumultuous sibling relationship of all was with her, my big sister. It didn’t help that I knew exactly which buttons to push to cause her passionate-artist-temper to flare while I with my math-formulaic-brain sat in the backseat calm and rational. (Read: she was the one who always got in trouble.)
We have had some major fights. Blockbuster ones. We fought over ev-er-y-thing, from the last glass of Kool-Aid to whether or not I had used her razor or face wash without asking (I had).
The thing is, I was insanely jealous of her. She sings. She plays music. She paints. She cooks. She designs. She pretty much cornered the market on creativity and growing up in her shadow, I wanted some. I desperately wanted to be like her, and because I wasn’t, I resented her for it, at least until the moments when admiration won out, or when she invited me into her life. And those moments, brief but innumerable, are the sweetest.
Like the times she drew comic books for my little sister and me to read. (Bobbie Thompson: The College Years?)
Or when we spent entire afternoons playing School (which we all pronounced “Skoi”), so that upon entering Kindergarten, I was already reading chapter books and writing in cursive and coloring inside the lines.
Or when she set up a “library” in her bottom dresser drawer and we “checked out” books, complete with library cards with due dates stamped onto them.
Or when I got my hair permed in second grade, and had to spend ALL DAY at the salon because my stick-straight hair wouldn’t curl, even under chemical reaction, and when they finally got it to stick after three separate treatments, she let me go to the movies with her and her best friend.
Or when she taught me how to curl my bangs for my fourth grade school picture and accidentally left a burn mark on my forehead. (But then she styled my bangs so that little pink mark wouldn’t show up in the photograph.)
Or when she helped me set up a business selling friendship bracelets called “Jessie’s Strings and Things.”
For sure, those were the short and sweet moments sandwiched between the many (many) “Get out of my room!” and “Just leave me alone!” and “She started it!” shouts that gave our parents migraines and indigestion (probably).
But then we grew up and the Enemy half of the Friend-Enemy Sisterhood fell away, and all that is left is Friend.
Best Friend, actually.
She is a confidante, a sounding board, someone who inspires and encourages. She is a beautiful mom, a devoted wife, a talented artist, a gourmet chef, a generous aunt, a wicked crafter, a bony-legged dancer, an inside-joke teller, and my big sister.
Happy birthday, sis. I love you.
(End of Conversation.)