Sisters, Sisters, There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters
Monday, April 6, 2009
It's my little sis’s birthday, today. She's the one on the right who could easily be mistaken for one of my daughters. 

My family tends to be shamefully irreverent most of the time, well actually all the time. It’s how we get our laughs. It’s a great way to go through life, never taking anything too, seriously.

My sister said to me a few years back, “I used to feel sorry for you and your birthday date, (the day after Sept. 11th), but then Dad died and I won the prize for the Suck-Fest birthday.”

In personal terms, her birthday is suck-festarama. As bad as Sept. 11th was, the sudden death of our beloved father the day before her birthday, wins in my book.

We grew up pretty tight, the irreverence between us, just one of our common themes.

Eighteen months apart and sharing the same room, sometimes the same bed, will do that to you. We are as different as the day is long. Dark and light. She was spectacularly tidy, (still is). I was a whirlwind of mess. (Something, I have thankfully grown out of. Except for my laundry room and my kids, two things I have never been able to conquer.)

She was a champion warrior, a natural athlete. I was the sissy, klutzy kid, who would rather sit in a corner and read a book than slip on a baseball glove. She was unafraid of the world, ready to take on anyone who challenged her. I was the one who hid behind her, peeking out to say, “Yeah, take that!” and then slipping back behind my brave, fierce little sister. She led. I followed her. She was determined, setting goals, never without a job, working her way through law school on her own dime. I was writing poetry, taking on a Que Sera, Sera, Doris Day theme for myself, all about the boys and the parties and the clothes. With her bright, shining accomplishments and innate sense of who she was and where she was going, everyone always thought she was the older one. It used to infuriate me. It was my birthright, to be acknowledged in my place of order, no matter how gratuitous I was.

People would tell me not to worry. That when I grew up, I’d love the fact that everyone would think she was the older one.

Yeah, right.

Three kids do things to your face and breasts and hips you can never earn back, unless you’re willing to go under the knife for a major transformation, shelling out several grand to reclaim your body.

Her skin glows.

And, I don’t even want to start on her figure. It’s depressing enough. Let’s just say, discipline has worked well in her favor. The marathon runner she is, she can still rightfully wear the same bikini that teenagers wear, looking every bit the part.

Life is so not fair.

We are, without a doubt, polar opposites. If we weren’t forced into this situation of sisters, we would probably have never been friends.

But, we are.

We have never left each other, no matter the miles and situations between us.

She’s a hotshot lawyer in the Windy City while I am slave to a houseful of really, sloppy ingrates. Her little corner of the world is filled with interesting, fabulous, smart people, travels around the world, marathons, noble causes, not to mention a plethora of world renowned restaurants and fantastic shopping right outside her doorstep.

She even gets to be in Oprah’s audience whenever she says the word.

I try not to think about it too much.

She went up to DC last week, to see the cherry laurels, blossom. Forgive me, while I reveal the gory details of my life here. But, I was really envying her the other day as I found myself in a situation so loathsome, I would have sold my kids to be up there in The Land of Pink Blossoms with her. She flashed into my mind as I was…um, pulling a beaded necklace that my dog had decided looked too delectable to pass up, out of her ass at an excruciatingly, slow pace so as not to have any beads break off and cause an even more vile extraction.

Only in my world.

But, even though her life is a shining fabulous gem compared to my sometimes, really gross existence, there is this one thing….

She is a karmic lightning rod for strange and calamitous events. In a lifetime, most people might, just might, experience one of the disastrous and weird happenings that happen in her everyday life.

She has been held up at gunpoint during law school. Like the fierce soul, she is, she went to court, giving her take to the judge on what sort of punk does this sort of thing, ensuring that he would learn his lesson in a long jail sentence.

She has been in train wrecks, news making, derailed train wrecks involving deaths and injuries. She has found herself in the middle of two, that’s two, separate bank robberies. 

Her list of, you’ve-got-a-greater-chance-of getting-hit-by-lightning calamities is endless.

A few weeks ago she was down visiting. We’d been at Disney all day and we were waiting for the boat to take us back to the mainland.

It crashed right before our eyes. That’s right, even the magical Disney boat.

The boat that simply drifts on a steadfast course down a small canal, couldn’t master the landing. The pilot had this spectacular smash right in front of our eyes, taking out a pole in front of us. We all looked at my sister the minute it happened. She could only nod in sad resignation.

The list is long, but it involves mass transit crashes, crimes involving guns where you are forced to put your hands up or lie on the floor, the magnetic sway she seems to have over the strangest folks on the planet. (Once, as she sat, minding her own business on a park bench, a very old, but my sister said distinguished man, asked her after a bit of small talk, if she might find in her heart to come back to his place and sleep with him. Make an old man happy, that sort of stuff. She did, for the record, decline.) She has had the rarest ailments, the ones where doctors are forced to open the textbook with a puzzled frown.

That same visit, a few weeks ago, one of my woodland insects stung her on the ear. Her ear turned into a throbbing, fire-red mess. I could only think, “Great, with her luck we probably have MRSA or maybe even leprosy on our hands.”

The insane timing of her universe is full of fantastic stories.

Here’s one of my favorite True Stories. The Chicago Marathon’s course goes right by my sister’s place every year. Before she was a participant, she always had a party, inviting friends over on Marathon Day. My sister was on the street, cheering on the runners, while her party guests mingled inside and out. My brother-in-law was camped out in front of the TV.

My sister noticed a runner who was desperately searching for an unoccupied Port-A-Potty, set up for the race. The woman was having no luck as she stood there, urgently doing a potty dance. So my sister called out to her, telling her to use the bathroom in her place.

The woman sprinted up the steps and through the front door. With her racing number affixed to her tank, she burst into the family room, where my brother-in-law sat in TV oblivion and breathlessly burst out, “Where’s the bathroom!”

My brother-in-law could only point the way, dumbfounded.

It wasn’t until he leaned out the window and yelled to my sister, “Hey, did you just let a runner in here?” did she realize that not everyone’s life is quite like hers.

I’ve been a little busy this week, writing about my Dad and pulling necklaces out of dog’s asses, so I haven’t been able to get out to find her a perfect present or even a really, snarky card.

But, at least I have this. A little love letter for my fabulous sister with the peaches and cream skin, rock hard abs, absurd timing for disasters, and magnet for the outer realm of humanity.

My sister, the fairy godmother to her nieces, an exceptional person of the planet, a marvelous sister, and my forever friend.

Oh, and like the other girls in my sisterhood, she too has a celebrity man she calls her boyfriend. Her Bono is George Clooney. And if anyone out there knows him, I think he would really like my sister. She’s all thin and brunette, like he likes. The only negatives are she’s not a dumbbell, not a cocktail waitress, and not a slut. And looking at his history, these things seem to be his top prerequisites in a girl. But, Helloooo….George Clooney on her doorstep! This would be the present no one could top!

Happy Birthday, Sis. Have an amazing birthday. I know you’ll be at some fabulous restaurant with all your fabulous friends and family gathered round. Just, don’t let any meteorites hit you on the way down.

Today’s Forced Upon Download: “For Good” from the Broadway show, WICKED. “Because I knew you, I have been changed for Good.” For Jean.




1 comment:

Kelly Cochrane said...

On point and hilarious. Happy Birthday Jeaner.

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