A present still worth cherishing
Thirty-one years ago today, I got a present. It is something that I still have and cherish more than ever. It was my youngest sister, whom I immediately loved.
My mom used to use cloth diapers with the big diaper pins – I’m not sure if disposables were even available back then – and I sometimes tried to change her. I distinctly remember always keeping the pins loose so that I didn’t stab her legs and how that caused her diapers to fall down when she stood up. I’m sure that, if she is reading this, she is extremely pleased that I shared that with all of you.
As she grew, we got closer. As teenagers, she kept my secrets and never told on me for sneaking clothes in my book bag to change into at school, getting picked up by my friends with cars at the bottom of the driveway instead of riding the bus, or having a cigarette when I thought that smoking made me look cool.
When she was in college, I got her a job with me at a sandwich shop and she was the best help I ever had. We rode to and from work together, singing and goofing off the whole way. But once we got to work, she was all business. She accepted the fact that I was her boss and never played the “I’m your sister” card. Even the day that I caught the grill on fire, she just kept setting up the rest of the shop, never pausing to even consider that the whole place could blow up. She did call me “Sparky” for awhile after that, though.
She and I have had many adventures together, including one-day trips to visit relatives in Philadelphia. On one trip, we actually headed out at night and planned to stay in a hotel. It was so insanely foggy for about 25 miles that we had to tail a tractor-trailer because its lights were the only things we could see with any clarity. Even the lines on the road were hard to see.
The whole time we continued to laugh and joke and drink Mocha McCafe coffees in an ill-advised attempt to win McDonald’s annual Monopoly game. The caffeine jolt we were looking for didn’t kick in until we had arrived at our hotel and were supposed to be going to sleep, but the need to pee had us stopping every hour or so for a potty break. And another coffee.
This is not to say that our relationship has been issue-free. I once sent her mail addressed to an unflattering nickname that only she and I knew. She forgave me. She once broke a key off in the door of my car and laughed about it – until she discovered it was the only key I had for the car. I forgave her too.
We used to really fight sometimes, and we still disagree occasionally. But there has always been a level of respect between us that has superseded any conflict and kept us close. And since I consider her to be the person who truly knows me better than any other person on this planet, I pray that it always will be so.
Happy birthday, Sissy!