Wednesday, July 21, 2010

When I was almost four and a half, my happy little kid world was thrown into turmoil. My sister was born, a baby so fat her nickname was Michelin Man because her arms and legs had as many rolls as the Michelin tire mascot. With the arrival of this chubby newcomer, everything changed. Suddenly, I had to learn to share, both the spotlight and my toys. I had to be quiet during naptimes, even though Laura screeched at all hours of the day and night and kept me awake. Abruptly, I had to stop being the baby and start being the big sister.

I loved my new role. I volunteered to hold the baby, feed her, play with her. I read to her and played music for her and tried to teach her how to walk. I would follow her around the yard, holding her hands above her head and trying to hurry her along faster than her plump baby legs wanted to go. She'd fall on the ground, and I'd swing her back up to her feet, somehow not pulling her arms out of their sockets, and keep trying.

Before long, she was the one following me around, and I was getting tired of her always being there. My mom was busy with a new baby, our brother, so it was my job to entertain Laura.

We shared a room, and I'd flop on my bed with the newest Babysitter's Club or Nancy Drew in my collection on a hot afternoon. Laura would sniff me out after about half a second and want me to play with her. I'd scream at her to get lost and then stage a dramatic wailathon to my parents about how I didn't have any privacy. "You two are sisters. You should get along better," Dad would say. He built me a bedroom in the basement so I could have my privacy. The first night I slept downstairs in my new room, I lay awake half the night, listening to the noises of the house, imagining bugs in my bed, and wanting to be back upstairs in the pink room with Laura.

Growing up I think we were always just one or two years too far apart to be really close. When I was suffering my way through puberty, she was still playing with dolls. When she was starting to get crushes on boys, I was driving and drinking (not at the same time!!) Our lives didn't really overlap except for the occasional brief little bonding that would happen over a girly movie, a shopping trip, a song on the radio or a parental injustice.

But even though we had very little in common, I always felt like I could vent to her. Even if she had no idea what I was talking about, she would listen and nod, generally agree with me, and once in a while throw in a little bit of insight. I told her secrets like crazy and knew she wouldn't rat me out and to this day she is one of very few people I can confide in.

Once Laura got out of high school we became a lot closer. Suddenly we're both adults, and for the first time in our lives, the playing field is level. We can both drink and go to R-rated movies and own vehicles and come and go as we please. We've both lost jobs, survived messy breakups, and embarrassed ourselves while waaaaay too drunk. We're peers now and we're more alike than either of us ever thought when we were kids.

Next weekend, Laura is getting married and it's weird for me, because as silly as it sounds I'm still getting used to the fact that she's grown up, that she's actually old enough to be someone's wife. I'm going to have to get used to the notion, but a big part of me still sees her as the chubby little toddler in the yard. I'm glad we've been able to become friends, and I'm happy to say she's one of my best friends. Dad was right...sisters should get along. I'm happy we do.

And I'm definitely going to bawl at the wedding.

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  1. My little brother is getting married in September and I can't handle how much I'm gonna cry! It's so crazy to see those "little" siblings growing up.

  2. I definitely misted up a bit reading this. I'm really envious that you have a sister like this in your life. I really love my sister-in-law but I know it's not the same as growing up together.

    ENJOY the wedding and I hope it all goes very very well. I hope this sticky hot weather messes off, because having recently wore a wedding dress, I can tell you it won't be fun for her in this heat!

  3. Aww, this is such a sweet post! I was never close with my brother and it's sad that we only see each other at Christmas, but D is incredibly close with his two sisters and I can see how special that connection is. Have a wonderful time at the wedding and make sure you take lots of tissues :)

  4. Oh geez Amy, you have me crying at my desk!! Beautiful post!!!

    My twin sister was married last April and I was positive I'd bawl more than Tammy Faye Baker and I didn't shed more than a couple tears. I was far too happy for her. She was so beautiful and everything was perfect. <3

  5. Amy, you made me tear up with this post.. :) Sounds like you and your sister are a pretty awesome pair! <3 Congrats to her, and enjoy the wedding!

  6. Thanks guys! I am trying to write my MOH speech for the wedding and it is NOT going well, maybe I'll just read this post :)