23 August 2010

Methinks I'll keep her...

Although I don't remember the exact date of the conversation, I'm thinking it probably occurred somewhere in the realm of 21 years ago. However, unless I made this up in my healthy-albeit-overactive imagination, I have the distinct recollection of a three-year-old Me asking my parents for a baby sister. What my mother and father said, I don't remember. 

But I received a couple of things for my 4th birthday:


I am relieved to see that I do not look so crazed in the picture with my baby sister as I do in the one with my new Barbie.

I remember the day she was born--twenty years ago today. I'm pretty sure someone must have explained to me where Mom and Dad went in the middle of the night (I was not one to stand by being uninformed. "Hi, my name is Rachel. I'm a recovering question-asker."). What I remember most, though, is my grandparents taking me to Burger King on the way to the hospital, and I was upset to tears about it because, let's face it, the Burger King Kid's Meal was no Happy Meal. I mean, they never, ever came with Disney toys.

Once we were able to visit my mother and new sister in the hospital, I clearly remember my mom being very nervous to allow me to hold the baby. I was allowed to sit on the hospital bed, though, and look at the baby. (Even after you had been forced to make due with a mediocre Burger King toy? you ask. Yes, 'tis true.)  I was still 9 days shy of 4, though, so I suppose I can't blame her. My biggest curiosity about the baby was what her "bungee" cord looked like. Now that I think about it, perhaps the bungee vs. umbilical cord misunderstanding is why I was disallowed from holding the baby...

Eventually, they did let me hold her, as is evidenced by the picture above. I believe that photo was taken a few days after she had come home, and if I'm not mistaken, it was the first time I was allowed to hold her.  She was so cool!

On sisters, Toni Morrison said, "A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves--a special kind of double." If there ever was a better way to express the relationship between my sister and I, I'd like to see it.  It can be guaranteed that, when my sister and I are together, we will not walk away from it without someone having said to the other, "You just always have to be right, don't you?" We're cut from the same cloth, but we are very different people. We're sisters, but she's the Leo (well, a Leo-Virgo cuspian actually, which throws a whole new wrench into the gears sometimes) to my Virgo. In the very dates of our births, it is cosmically determined that our relationship should be tumultuous, but that our personalities also serve to balance each other. When I'm freaking out about something, she's matter-of-factly telling me to chill the heck out before she smacks me. When I'm examining the minutiae of a situation or task, she's got a knack for realizing when enough is enough and it's time to adopt a "Whatev" attitude. We're not hesitant to point out to each other when the other one has done something wrong. But I will be the first to admit that my sister has so many enviable strengths. I wish that I had her self-confidence, her initiative, and her extroverted nature, without having to think so dang hard about it. So many things come naturally to her, and when something doesn't, she does everything she can to make it happen.  If I'm not good at something, I'm usually content to never do it again. We're both perfectionists, but we present it in very different ways. 

To be sisters " is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship," the anthropologist Margaret Mead noted. Though my sister and I have moments in our relationship at which even oil and vinegar would shake their heads in disbelief, I wouldn't trade her for anything.  My sister is the only person who will ever understand me fully, because she's been by my side for twenty years, when life has been great and when it's been heartbreaking.  I'm glad that she's been, and always will be, my sister. 

So here's to my sister on her birthday. Nicole, I hope you had a very happy one. Just know I haven't called yet because it took me all day to write this blog post.  I love you. 

The thought bubble here would surely say, "Nom nom nom nom!"

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