Happy birthday to me!

by

Woke up to three people very excited about my birthday. Snort exclaimed, ‘Your birthday is NOT tomorrow!’ and keeps singing Happy Birthday to me. Coconut said, ‘Mama, is your birthday a chocolate or ice cream one? I think chocolate.’

Snort picked out a Yankee Candle that was the exact flavour (Mango Peach Salsa) he bought for TMD last Christmas. Spooky.  Coconut got me the heavenly smelling Red Velvet. Made me laugh as they each picked a candle that was their twin’s favourite colour.

Anyway, I also woke up to this from my sister.

“You’re Smart and Pretty and Cool and I Want to Be Just Like You,” says Stephanie Tanner to DJ Tanner

When I was little my sister was not a human.  She was my God.  She was defiant, not eating any foods that resembled membranes.  She checked the packaging on every meat we ingested to make sure it wasn’t killed by our father’s hands pulling a trigger.  I trusted her above all other sources.  I ate what she ate.  I wanted to do what she did.  She was my world.

My sister was impossibly intelligent.  My mom would not let her take baths because she would read in the tub until she got wrinkly +hours.  When we peaked in the shower she was just doing the same thing… with the water spout turned inwards.  She could read a book in hours.  I watched her eat up novels, one by one… in every place we traveled.  I always wanted to be in the world she had found for herself as I clumsily trounced through my life.

My sister was my imagination.  Around her I wasn’t Blondie.  I was a mermaid.  I was diving in our pool not for golf balls, but for magic shells.  Anything could exist.  Anything could be.  It didn’t matter if I was three or four or fix or six.  We’d build cruise ships out of rafts and on them our dolls would float to exotic places that I knew one day I’d see myself.  We had a Saturday night sneak out club.  We wrote in notebooks of the places we’d escape to.  We could sleep on the roof, under the table, anywhere…. Though we may have never left our beds it was about the possibility of the all in front of us that made me feel like the world wasn’t impossible to conquer.

My parents divorce was almost as scary as thunderstorms.  When either happened I would crawl into my sister’s bed.  I knew she could keep me safe.  I knew she understood something I didn’t.  Somehow it all made more sense when I saw that she was OK.  She was stronger than I was… older and wiser.  I managed to get through everything mostly unharmed from her hugs and occasionally covering up my ears while turning up the TV to mute out the arguing.

My sister and I thought we could get anything via rhyme.  Our favorite restaurant was Red Lobster, though both of us didn’t eat seafood.  We wanted to go simply to eat baskets of the cheesy bread that came before any meal.  Together we’d sing songs of why our parents should take us, snapping our fingers in a way only a very convincing childhood duo could do.  This was the stuff of legends.  THIS is why our diet consisted of a lot of cheese bread.

At some point I became the annoying little sister instead of the friend.  I wanted to follow my sister around everywhere.  I wanted to understand her.  I wanted to read her diary (and to my shame, I did, even leaving comments in the margins).  I felt left out as she grew up without me.  Me, without boobs & wearing a pink K’s School of Dance shirt when I thought I could do jazz competitions for a living.  I didn’t know what I wanted without her.  I didn’t know what I was supposed to do on my own.

Then my sister left for college.  Occasionally, we would get lost in the car a lot in the upcoming years… once for hours trying to find Old Navy.   Another time we got hopelessly lost coming back from {awesome amusement park}.  Lost we were never lost.  We laughed.  We talked.  My sister is the reason I’m not afraid to be unsure as an adult.  I can enjoy every moment of uncertainty and love the people around me like crazy doing it.  It’s OK to be unsure.  It’s OK to not follow anyone’s plan.  It’s OK to be different.  These are all the things I gathered from her wisdom & still all the things that get me through every single day I live to date.  I still totally suck at directions, but it works out alright because I’m always open for adventure.

Years later my sister is a mother to twins and a loving wife in a just over ten year relationship.  It’s funny because she always told me she had twins in her belly when we were little. I thought it was because she didn’t want me to punch her in the stomach, but perhaps it was something more.  She is selfless and patient in this way I have never seen a human be.  She is a fun and creative mom and it makes me giggle with glee that now her children will get to dive for mermaid/men shells.  I know that when they are sad she holds them just like she used to hold me when I was angry or scared.  I know that when they are lost she will laugh and show them that misdirection can end up beautiful.  I know she’ll protect them in a way I used to think was reserved just for me. I know she’ll show them that it’s OK to be different, in fact, it’s preferred.

And watching her instills a sense of faith in me that love and family can exist in a remotely non-painful way.  To see genuine love, something my sister and I always believed in,  get found makes it feel safe for me to hold out for something just as great when all my friends seem to be moving on in their lives.  I’m strong alone, and because of my sister I know that it’s not about if it exists, it’s about being patient and just having faith in yourself until it gets there for you.

Today is my sister’s birthday.  Though it kills me every single day to not be around her and her lovely wife and children she’s with me in every moment.  She’s the stack of books I can’t wait to consume on my bedside table.  She’s the little dance I do in front of the mirror as I yell out lyrics she taught me. Most of all when I ever feel lost or confused she’s the voice in my head that keeps me calm and safe.  She’s the first true love I ever experienced… the kind of love that only we can understand.

Happy Birthday, Existere.  I love you more than words can say, and though I probably don’t say it nearly enough, thank you for everything you’ve taught me and for everything you’ve contributed to who I am today.  You’re the most wonderful person I have ever had the chance of getting to know and you are truly my hero.

Wow, huh? Just wow.

 

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6 Responses to “Happy birthday to me!”

  1. Lyssie Says:

    That’s lovely, and happy birthday! Sounds like you’re going to have a wonderful one.

  2. mamacrow Says:

    oh that’s lovely! and a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  3. Alice Fraggle Says:

    Happy Birthday!

  4. Jess Collingwood Says:

    I’ll admit it – I cried. That’s so beautiful. Happy birthday, 🙂

  5. PottyMouthMommy Says:

    That. was. Beautiful. I hope you have the happiest of birthdays! To have a sister that loves you so much- you really must be the most incredible of people.

  6. jinxyisms Says:

    Happy happy birthday! Love you!

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