Today you turn three-hundred-and-sixty months old, or, thirty.
Welcome to the Great Beyond, the post-twenties, the promised land of the gloriously self-assured. Now, you are officially Coming Into Yourself.
You are the prettiest girl I know.
You're also the person I've known the longest. And, if we can just make this about me for one moment, my relationship with you is probably the one that most defines me as a person. I am, at my core, the Big Sister. Just ask Susan. (Sus, you're the other prettiest girl I know.)
Remember when we were little? I kinda hated you then. You were so annoying. Our activities together included:
- You beating the crap out of me. Me restraining myself because I felt sure I could crush you on accident and I was kind of a frightened kid that way. Later, you joining up with Ryan and Ty Baxter in order to form a tiny gang of angry rebel four-year-olds who would jump up on me like the Lilliputians taking down Gulliver. One would punch my stomach, then, as I was hunched over in pain, the others would attack from all sides. Later, I would complain to our father, who just basically thought it was hilarious. He couldn't understand why I didn't just drop kick each of you. What can I say? I was a bookish kid.
- Car trips. The most classic of all American childhood experiences. Screaming at each other in the back seat.
- Fighting over the coveted middle seat, which had the adjustable seatbelt that didn't cut off circulation at the waist.
- Later, when dad brought home the first of many Suburbans (he was an early adopter, in 1984), we would create a nest in the way-back.
- Dad once got so sick of us fighting he literally dropped us off by the side of some country road and drove away. Clear out of sight. I remember thinking, "This is it." I immediately started looking for a farmhouse we could trek to, began planning how I would protect you. I couldn't have been more than eight. You five. He came back and got us, of course, but it was a harrowing two minutes.
- There's that one time we went to Michigan with mom and made her crazy by speaking in Pig Latin the entire time. That was kind of awesome. Until we locked your fingers in the door of the Camry. That sucked.
- Of course, there's also that time that Dad and I left you at the rest stop on the way to Ohio for Thanksgiving.
- And didn't notice you weren't sleeping in the way back until an hour later.
- And it was totally my fault.
- And it was before cell phones.
- And we laugh about that now; it's a classic tale, but I don't mind telling you, sometimes in the dark of the night, I'll wake up in a cold sweat, my heart in my stomach, imagining what could have been. My love for you is so very fierce, baby sister.
- But dude, you were so cute. And now you're thirty fucking years old. And we're gonna celebrate in Vegas, with our cousin Emily, who is also thirty fucking years old this week. Che, here's the thing -- I've got a weakness for redheaded babies. She might have been cuter:
Okay, no. She' s not.
Here's some other quick highlights:
- You shaved your fucking head in high school. Twice. That is so goddamn badass.
- You've never been afraid. Ever. Ever.
- You're the fiercest girl I know. And the most compassionate. I admire you so much.
- Your class of fourth graders is the luckiest.
Happy birthday, sweetie.
(note how I'm inexplicably giving the thumbs-up here.)
*yes, I am totally doing this to amuse myself. And Sarah. Sorry, Che.