Today is my little sister’s birthday.
When I asked my sister what she wanted, she told me she wanted to be immortalized in a post on my blog. I was prepared to bake a cake, babysit my niece, maybe even buy some wine with an actual cork. I wasn’t prepared for this. This is a lot of pressure, man. This blog post can go only one of two ways: the feeling you get when you open the door and Ed McMahon is standing there with a shit-ton of balloons and a poster board check made out to you for an obscene amount of money, or the feeling you get when you open a gift of sexy lingerie from your weird aunt while your entire family is watching you and the room fills up with that awkward state between stunned silence and hysterical laughter when no one wants to be the first one to break.
I gotta say … I’m not really sure which one I’m going for here.
I have more than three decades of stories. That’s an overwhelming amount of information to condense into a single blog post. So, we’re going to do this photo-essay style. I know, I know. It’s kind of a cheap way out. But, these pictures tell stories that my words cannot.
My sister was mostly cool to have around. I got a puppy out of the deal, so it wasn’t all bad. Also, she was pretty entertaining. She was born back in the days of televisions sets that had dials and rabbit-ear antennas, so it was her or Sesame Street. I mostly picked her. Unless Villa Alegre was on. Because ¡Villa Alegre!
Still, she was pretty cute, so she usually reeled me in.
She was usually game for whatever I wanted to do. For example, if I wanted to play barber shop and I needed a model …
Or, if I wanted to play hours of kickball in Grandma and Grandpa’s backyard.
Eventually we were like peanut butter & jelly, a Caramello and milk, an Egg McMuffin with a side of syrup …
We shared a lot of adventures. This photo is possibly emblematic of our respective roles in those adventures …
I think this photo captures the boredom that gave birth to Sylvia and Cheryl. I’m pretty sure there are no two siblings on earth who made up better, more involved, more dramatic games than we did. It might be because we watched hours of General Hospital and The Edge of Night when no one was looking. Just a guess.
My sister frequently shared the misery of the unfortunate fashion choices of some of the adults in our lives who shall remained unnamed here but who know damn well who they are. (Yes, MOM, I’m looking at YOU.) I mean – really? Someone should be punished for this. This photo likely captures the moment my sister birthed and subsequently mastered the face that says, “My mouth is smiling but my eyes are killing you with daggers. Stab. Stab. Stab.“
Of course, turnabout isn’t just fair play in sisterhood, it’s a prerequisite to a lot of other stuff. For example, if you cut off all your sister’s hair, you should expect her to wake you frequently at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday to play Barbies. Or marbles. Or to make her breakfast. This can result in thrilling discoveries (e.g., brown sugar and cinnamon rolled up inside Bisquick dough is freakin’ awesome) or slightly less thrilling discoveries (e.g., napkins can, in fact, catch on fire).
This photo says: ”Yay! Barbies! Marbles! I knew you’d see it my way!!!” (It also says, “I’m gonna take a Sharpie to your mother-effin’ Barbie coloring book, biotch.”)
Sisterhood also means putting up with a special brand of crazy core meltdown that occurs nowhere else in nature. To the average person, this photo says, “Look at that sisterly love.” To my sister and me it says, “I don’t care how much you hate your hair or your shirt or how fat you feel, get in the goddamned car and let’s go, or I’m telling everyone about that time I caught you picking your nose.”
This photo says to the casual observer, “Awwww. Sisterly love.” To my sister and me it says, “Thank god I didn’t let her pluck my eyebrows this time.”
I jumped forward a whole lot of years – mostly because I need get some sleep before the next generation of 6:30 a.m.-get-up-and-let’s-play appears at my bedside and literally pries open my eyelids. (And people don’t believe in evolution. Pfft.) I think you get the general idea though.
Happy Birthday, “Sylvia”
I leave you with this one final thought:
Love always, your sister “Cheryl”