She is smart, pretty, and cool and I want to be just like her.

by

Today my sister turns 26. For her, a handful of select childhood memories:

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Bite Monster: the scariest fucking game in the universe. She would chomp her teeth together and advance on me; she was like Michael Myers. It didn’t matter how fast I ran or where I went, her slow and steady gait inspired a level of terror in me you would not believe. For awhile I thwarted her by stiffening my arms into straight lines, making fists, and moving them up and down in an alternate way. This stopped working as soon as she realised I wouldn’t actually hit her.

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Behind our house and nice green grass with requisite trees was a strip of woods. These woods had a teensy tiny creek. In the winter we would snowsuit ourselves up and slide along the ice on our bellies. One year the ice cracked (I’m talking a trickle of water here, people) and the brown water began to pool on the ice. We freaked and semi-climbed a tree, staying there for hours.

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Blondie also liked to try to punch me in the stomach (seeing a pattern here, people?). I stopped her doing this by telling her I was pregnant with twins: Daisy and Joey. A few years in and a triplet appeared: Petunia.

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The anger in my chest as I realised she and her friend had gone through my paper journals with a red pen, making bitchy little notes in the margin.

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The pride that swelled in me every time I got to see her play volleyball in high school. Or run track. Or do that scary ass high jump thing. She was really, really good at sports and I was really, really good at sitting in the stands and sending her good vibes.

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Saturday Night Sneak Out Club. No list of memories would be complete without this on the list. I decided that every Saturday night we would wait until our parents were asleep, then find a location in the house to have a slumber party for two. I even dedicated a notebook to recording our escapades. We never actually did this; she says that she used to come and try to wake me up and I would just flail at her in my sleep.

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Camping in …uh….Country C. The way you could earn a button/badge thing for every bag of garbage you collected. Riding our bikes to the nightly educational movies. Climbing the rocks at the end of the beach. Stony beaches. The island on the sand dune. Bears at the dump.

Did you know, Blondie, we went when you were very little and stayed in a tent? You rolled over on top of a lantern and your sleeping bag melted.

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Watching my mother dive into the swimming pool to rescue baby Blondie after she had rolled in and sunk to the bottom. Watching the babysitter drop Blondie on her head on the hardwood floors of our family room. Watching Blondie fall on her head onto an asphalt parking lot.

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Vampires: a semi-scary, delicious game. (All our games involved biting, apparently.) We would take turns securing ourselves in a pile of pillows and blankets. When we were ready, we would call out for the other one to pretend to be a vampire and break into our little nests. This one was good shit. I know it sounds lame, but it was fucking awesome.

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Both in the bathtub, slipping and sliding back and forth, water sloshing everywhere. We had another lame-o game (but still awesome!) that involved trying to avoid letting a washcloth or multiple washcloths touch us while we were in the tub.

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I remember when Blondie was a baby in a walker, and there was a tornado watch. My grandparents were over and we all sat in the kitchen while she rolled around, looking at us each in turn. This memory is the yellow colour of faded photographs, and one of my happiest snapshots.

Every other baby memory that doesn’t involve threatened cranial damage involves her thick, thick black hair and her endless baby screaming.

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Another memory: a tornado coming, Mom tucking us into a cardboard box in the basement, throwing a thick mattress on top of us. Endless other tornado times in the basement, Grandma’s afgans pulled over our faces in case glass broke.

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A morbid thing I always did…slowing down my actions, flipping my hair, laughing. Saying, ‘This is how you’ll remember me when I’m dead.’

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The mirror, the mirror, oh the mirror. Arching our backs randomly and just saying, ‘SAVE me, from the FIRE.’ Always done with a grimace.

Or the mean little song from a Muppet-type movie: Blondie, never really learned how to play…oh eee oh…she’s always been a stick in the mud. Blondie, now I’m gonna show you the way ….oh eee oh….why you wanna be a dud. She sang this to me as well. It was like the ultimate insult.

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Forehead pushes. We would face each other, bend over, and push our foreheads together as hard as possible while, yes, grimacing. This was satisfying to me in a weird ass way.

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We liked Full House. On one episode, Michelle said to DJ, ‘You’re smart, pretty, and cool and I want to be just like you.’ I always said this to her….’Because I’m smart, pretty, and cool and you want to be just like me?’ We laughed about this a lot.

When we grew up, she told me that yes, I was smart, pretty, and cool and she wanted to be just like me.

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My sister is a survivor. My sister tries to heal her wounds and is not sure how. My sister is an explorer, a poet, a smart businesswoman, a creative shape-changing she-girl who is always reinventing herself. My sister lives for the woods, for adrenaline, for new things. My sister longs for stability and romance and a perfect understanding of things.

She is beautiful, curious, brave, funny, quirky, hopeful.

Happy birthday to you,
happy birthday to you,
happy birthday, dear sister,
happy birthday to you.

I am glad you are the one that remembers our childhood with me.

I had five years without you in my life, and the first time I held you in my arms, I was stunned by happiness. I finally had my baby, my little sister, and I was gentle with you. Forgive me for the times I was not as gentle, but remember that there is always a five year old in me who is amazed, deeply, at how much I love you and how much you belong in my life.

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5 Responses to “She is smart, pretty, and cool and I want to be just like her.”

  1. CJ Says:

    Her birthday is just a few days before mine! How did you ever survive an Aquarian sibling?!?!

  2. tia Says:

    you & your sister are amazing and lucky to have each other.

  3. Darlene Says:

    That was awesome! It’s a good thing too. With that much cranial trauma, she may not remember any of that. lol (jk) Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun. heehee

  4. 2momswithaplan Says:

    I just love this post of memories between two sisters. It sounds like you two had a great time together. Thank you for sharing and happy late birthday to her!

  5. Shilo Says:

    That is seriously one of the most beautiful fucking odes to sisterhood I have ever read. So so gorgeous. I wish I had a sister like you xxx

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