Today marks my baby sister’s 44th birthday.
I haven’t always been the best brother. Two examples of this spring to mind.
First, she had a black tooth for much of her childhood when I caused her to fall into a sink faucet. Also, to this day she has tiny burn marks on her chest when a snotty 12-year-old me let a trusting 7-year-old her drop an egg into a pan full of hot bacon grease.
However, there were times when I was a pretty good brother. Like the day Bobby kicked her in the stomach and I chased him into his place and dragged him out to kick his butt. His mom screamed at me and I just said “He kicked my sister”. His mom said “Oh, OK then. I’ll deal with him after you do.”
Then there was “Bunnyland”- a place where a sneaky older brother told his impressionable sister that we went when we hid under the blankets and I bounced the bed. I spun entire stories about the “King of the Rabbits” and other such nonsense for her late into the night.
There was “tea fights” and there was all the times we packed our entire room, hoping our parents would take the hint and move us to another place. Smuggling empty boxes through the window of our room and stashing the packed ones in the closet, like our parents wouldn’t notice all our stuff was gone.
If we’re ever kidnapped and have to prove we’re really us to each other we have a simple way- both of us can rattle off the complete address of the apartment complex we lived in more than 30 years ago. I have a hard time remembering my work address but I’ll remember that address on Colonial Drive til the day I die.
When we grew up there was the legendary “I can’t feel my teeth” party… but now is not the place for that tale.
My sister ended up marrying my best friend (a guy she used to hate) when he drove 200 miles to look after her during a hurricane. Funny thing is, when I was first moving my sister and mom to that new city I took him along as cheap muscle, On the way he told me “For all this work you owe me a girlfriend.” Debt paid bro, with 2 cute kids as interest.
Right now, Sis is going through some rough times. She’s taken the lead in dealing with some thorny family issues that have no clean resolution- but she’s doing the best she can under impossible conditions.
I can’t remember the last time I said it, probably Christmas when everybody is a better person, but I love you, Sis. You’re not the cuddliest kitten in the litter, but seeing how we grew up that isn’t a surprise. Everybody deals with the static their own way. For me, it was doing my best to give our parents fits and then leaving for Europe and the Army when I was 17. You opted to stand in there and slug it out.
They say you can’t choose your family, but if you could I’d still pick you for the game. Every team needs a bulldog that won’t ever back away from a fight.
Happy birthday, Sis… from an older brother that realizes, for a sister, he couldn’t have asked for better.
Note: This is probably the most proofed post I’ve ever written. You see, my sister is also a perfectionist with a degree in English.