Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Birthday Week: Day Two

Decade two: 1975-1985

My sister and I were close growing up, but more in the second mother sort of way. She took care of me, showed me life’s ropes, and made sure we had a good time on the journey. When Chrissy babysat, it was always an adventure. Instead of simply asking me what I wanted to eat, she would create a menu containing my favorite items and have me check the box next to my choice. We convinced mom to purchase every kind of spaghetti-o on the market and ran a comprehensive taste test, complete with restaurant critique style reviews. And she taught me to appreciate the finer things in life, like butter on saltine crackers.
We loved to watch MTV together, back when it was actually music television, and imagine how cool it would be to be a VJ. Chrissy's walls were covered with posters of Duran Duran and Adam Ant (I can still picture the one featuring an adroggynous Nick Rhodes in the bathtub with his wife). I owe a considerable amount of my music knowledge to my big sister, who would quiz me when songs came on the radio. If you’ve ever wondered why I am so completely obsessed with the 80’s, well there you have it. I recently uncovered this little gem while sorting through my mix tapes. Proof that our competitive nature started early. If you listen closely, you can hear her say, "I can sing louder than you." But she doesn't. And of course I have to be the boss, saying, "That's enough" at the end.

At the tail end of this decade, we lost our paternal grandfather. He and I were very close, and it was an unexpected and devastating blow. My sister was in her second year of college and came in for the funeral. That week a blizzard hit and she was stuck at home for an extra week. Our maternal grandmother was staying with us and Chrissy and I had to share a room. It was during this time (for reasons I honestly can’t remember) that we started calling each other “Doodie”. She filled the emptiness of my grandfather’s passing by making me laugh and showing me how to write messages with footprints in the snow.
That's my favorite thing about my sister: her ability to make me laugh. It is obvious that we share genes - strange, strange genes (thanks, dad!). My children (and many of the kids I babysat over the years) are familiar with the napkin moustache “You must pay the rent” routine, which I learned from Chrissy. Anyone who knows her knows she has a wonderful and slightly twisted sense of humor. When we are together, belly laughs inevitably ensue, and that has always been the case. I can’t imagine my childhood without her.

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