Today is my sister Jen’s 32nd birthday! And since she’s been wondering when I’m going to thank her, she can now be satisfied. I’ve saved it all for her day of birth.
When Jen was born, I’m pretty sure I hated her. I hated all the attention she received, I hated all the love she stole from me, and I hated that I had to share everything.
In fact, I distinctly remember sitting on our old, brown velour couch with an apple and my mom telling me I could give my sister some apple BUT NOT the apple peels, because she could choke. So what did I do? I gave her the apple peel in the hope that she WOULD choke. Guess what? She did!
And I felt so, so, so, so terrible. And the spanking that I got didn’t make me feel any better either.
But as we got older there were more reasons to hate my sister: she was just damn better at everything.
She was smarter, funnier, more sociable, more confident, more spontaneous, more fun, more brave, had bigger boobs (way bigger), and in general really knew how to have a good time. In fact, when I went to MY high school reunion, more people asked about how she was doing than how I was doing (OK, that’s an exaggeration, but really, a lot of people asked about her and she graduated high school 2 years after me).
And as I matured, I realized that I didn’t hate her; no, of course not. I was just jealous of her.
She could really let loose and have a good time–she was, and still is when she gets it in her, the life of a party. She moved to the same town as me and attended the same college, and while I thought that I was so much cooler because I had the town figured out, knew where the parties were, and had a lot of amazing friends, she soon–within weeks–showed me that I had not been living the college lifestyle at all! Compared to her life, I might as well been a 50-year-old divorced widow. It was so depressing.
And then we matured some more, and she got married and had her first child. And then I was in awe of her and my jealousy turned to admiration. She was such a patient mother and so good with her son. She played with him constantly, read all the right parenting books, attended mommy and me classes, sang, rocked, nursed, loved, and ultimately devoted her life to him. She chose staying at home instead of working and nurturing her home instead of her career.
And then she watched me marry the wrong man, and she was the ONLY one who said, ‘Don’t do it!” She knew from the very beginning that this man was narcissistic, a phony, and that I would be stupid to marry him. Of course I didn’t listen, and when my life began to unravel, she never once said, “I told you so.” Since we were pregnant at the same time with our second children, she could have easily gave into her raging hormones and given me a stern lecture on my poor choices, but she didn’t do that either. Instead she just helped and helped and helped some more.
No one helps me more than my sister. She watches my kids when I work a few days a week, she takes Luke to do fun things when I can’t, she loves Luke and Maddie more than anyone I know besides myself, and she never misses one of Maddie’s performances or one of Luke’s milestones. She is the one person I know I can count on when I’m in a bind. She is the only person who makes sure I have a present from the kids for Mother’s Day, my birthday, and Christmas.
So my hate turned to jealousy, which turned to admiration, which turned to love. But what has always been there has been my ultimate and sincere gratitude. I may not always show it, and I may come across as frazzled and unappreciative after a long day, but I ALWAYS am thankful for my sister.
So now, though I’m not as good of a mother nor as fun as she is, I’m just thankful that she’s my sister, a part of my life, and that I can always hang out with her, guaranteed to have a good time.