Oh, my gosh, you guys, buckle in.
I have seriously been writing this post since January. There’s a pretty good chance I might break the internet with the sheer length of this single post. I know I’m definitely breaking every blogging experts’ rule to keep it short and sweet.
It won’t be short, but you bet it’ll be sweet.
Because the subject matter is one of the sweetest people ever in the entire world amen. And it’s her birthday.
OMG, RIGHT! So now you know what you’re getting yourself into by continuing to read. But I do promise to include pretty pictures.
Like this one.
That little dumplin’ is my baby sister, affectionately known around these parts as Stinky Face. I KNOW what you’re thinking, you guys, and YES, I will eventually run out of family members to birthday-blog about, OKAY.
The thing is, I don’t really remember life before her. Even though we’re almost two years apart, I don’t think I actually existed until she came around. She has always been a part of me, an extension of myself. Not that she is anything like me, but just that I never knew myself without her by my side. I have always been Stinky Face’s Big Sister. She has always been around, underfoot, tagging along, a built-in playmate and my best friend.
And even though I had no say in who I had to share a room with almost my entire childhood, I learned early on that I would have chosen her every time. She’s the kind of person everyone wants to know, not just a little, but to have on call; the perfect person with whom to talk, to spill juicy secrets, to gossip about boys, to complain about parents, to play with your hair while you watch Seventeen Again for the third time and not make you feel guilty over your sad, weird crush on Troy Bolton.
She’s the hilarious, sensitive best friend that everyone wants, and you guys, she’s all mine, luckily because she had no choice.
Growing up, we were inseparable. Probably because our big sister didn’t want us pests around, and my big brother was scary, and our parents were old and tired and spoke in funny languages. Now, that doesn’t mean she didn’t sometimes annoy the crap out of me. There is actual footage of me trying to shove her out of the frame during my 7th birthday party video. (It was MY time to shine, OKAY.)
But even as children, she has always been my favorite. My favorite to play with, to compete with, to make up stories with, to fool people into thinking we were twins. We even planned to run away together when our parents got especially mean. You know, if my dad hadn’t apologized for not letting us go to church that one time (yeah, that was the kind of kid I was), then who knows where we would be?
I grew up wanting to protect her. If anyone was going to bully her and make her cry, it was going to be me and no one else. I wanted to shield her from horny boys and mean girls, cigarettes and bad grades, too-short shorts and low-cut tops.
Today she’s 27 and a high-powered lawyer with two degrees from Vanderbilt, and I still want to remind her to get her oil changed and to lock the door and to bring a sweater just in case. I want to ban her from bars and driving. I want to make sure she’s not working too late or spreading too thin. (But my mom has cornered the market on those.)
She has always been smarter, kinder, prettier. She is more sincere and harder working, with a tenderness and an extra-special sensitivity that comes from being the baby of the brood.
And beneath all that intelligence and beauty is a generous, affectionate heart, one tied invisibly and indestructibly to mine.
We never really fought much. I’m sure I tried to boss her around, but if she got upset and refused to play, I quickly realized the game just wasn’t as fun without her. And there has always been a sweetness about her that made sharing not all that difficult, even if I thought she stretched out my shoes or looked better in my dresses.
There were times when I hated that she tagged along, only because my friends soon liked her just as well. But liking her is effortless, and I could never stay mad at her for very long. Besides, she’s never given me a black eye, and she can’t say the same about me. (But she did once tell me matter-of-factly that I smelled like poo, because some people just naturally smell bad, and as you can tell, it left a much stronger mark than that rock did.)
(And because she is kind and soft-hearted, she will worry that I actually believe that I smell like poo and it will be all her fault. Don’t fret, pet, I know I don’t smell like poo.)
No one in my entire life has ever known me as well or as intuitively as my little sister. She has kept my secrets, encouraged my dreams, even kept my dreams a secret because I thought they were stupid when she thought I was capable.
No one has ever made me laugh as long or as hard. I could tell you why simply saying the word “trapezoid” makes us laugh hysterically, but you wouldn’t think it was all that funny, and then I would like you less.
There is something magical in the countless late nights we’ve shared, from years ago when our twin beds were separated by a foot of beige carpet, to now, when we reunite and fight sleep and forget that we are responsible adults who go to bed at a reasonable hour in order to talk and laugh and snort and fall asleep curled against one another, not even a foot of sofa space between us.
She is better than me in every way. And because she is better, she won’t believe me when I tell her that all my life she has been the best person that I know.
But at least she knows she will always be my first best friend.
Happy birthday, Stinky Face.
Love, Ugly Head