Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My Best Birthday Present Ever

Today is my sister's birthday. My own is five days from now. Bella's is four days after that, and my Dad's would be the next day after that. A serendipitous thing that happened in my family all those thirty-odd years ago is this: Back then, a typical hospital stay after childbirth was four to five days. So it was, that as an infant, I came home from the hospital on my father's birthday, and five years later, Andrea came home on my birthday.

I very often hear people talking about sibling conflict, competition, jealousy, and fighting. We never had any of that. I adored that beautiful little girl, and took great pride in "helping" take care of her when she was very little. As she grew up, she semi-idolized me as the older sister, which made her VERY easy to keep liking. I loved playing games with her because she was smarter and more fun than most kids my own age. As we grew older, I got a kick out of her "tagging along" (she thinks to this day that she was "baggage", but she really made everything more fun) when I did things with my friends, or hanging out, just the two of us.

We've sort of had reversed roles in the traditional older/younger sibling sense. I've always been kind of a daydreaming, unstructured goofball, while she was the one with her feet on the ground, aware of everything around her, and ever cautious, even as a small child. She was the one who would grab my arm to keep me from walking in front of traffic, not the other way around. She always knew where my purse was, and my keys, and my sunglasses, and kept up with them so I didn't leave them behind somewhere, as I am wont to do. I think my parents worried less when we went out together, not because I was looking out for her, as much as that she was looking out for me.

I thought it was great that she shared my love of books, and would read anything I told her was good...and then appreciate it, too. She's a teacher now, of books and words and writing--I know that she excels at it, as she has everything she's ever put her hand to. We share a love for classical music, and one of my favorite things to do with her when we were teenager and adolescent was attending Symphony concerts and then going out for a late snack afterward, if not an early dinner before. Yeah, we were reallllly "cool" kids. Maybe not, but we were happy. We had amazing parents, who loved us, and each other, perfectly. It was really good growing up, our relationship, and that has never changed.

Andrea has always been my very best audience. She would always laugh at everything I thought was funny (even when it very often wasn't), a courtesy which she has now extended to my husband, who I am always telling how not funny he is...while I'm laughing. That is probably the thing that made me most want to keep her around when we were little--a good audience is priceless. And now that we're grown, with families of our own, if ever I want the ear of someone who I know will instantly understand whatever it is I'm going through, she is who I call on first.

I'm gonna quit now, because there is no way to really express what it's like having the perfect sister. I don't know if many people do, and I suspect I'm very lucky. I want to say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Andrea, and Bella will be calling later this evening to say, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AN-DE-RA!"

Thirty-four years later, I have yet to ever receive a birthday gift that could compare with the one I got when I was five years old. And hey--what better way to honor that day than with a slightly embarrassing picture of her on the day Bella was born, looking maniacally happy? (Thank goodness she doesn't have time to revenge-blog!) I love you, Sis.


  1. So does everyone in your family have such beautiful eyes? How about posting your picture sometime, hmmm? Or at least your eyes, so we can compare them to Andrea's and Bella's :)

    As for Bella having Alex wrapped around her finger? Absolutely the way it should be with Daddies and daughters!

  2. Heh. Try this post--pics aren't terribly recent, but my look remains boringly similar:


    Irony: My sister and I, looking like we do, both having apparently Viking children.

  3. Bella looks a lot like An-de-ra.

    You're so lucky to have a sister that you love and that loves you. I have a sister that is 6 years older than I am, but we have no relationship at all, and never did.

    Happy birthday to your whole family.

  4. Your sister was born 34 years ago, not 35. Don't rush time!
    You two were the best little siblings ever. She was your very own baby doll and you were her idol. She never, ever wanted you to get in trouble and if I scolded her in the slightest, you would say, "Mom, she's just a little kid!" When you were a teen, she thought you were the very coolest person in the whole world. I have been so very blessed!

  5. Oops...I was aging myself an extra year, too! For the next few days, she's only FOUR years younger than me! Yeah, you really lucked out having such brilliant little 100% angels to bring up. ;-P

  6. I grew up in a seriously dysfunctional family - my next sibling was 6 years older than I, and we each thought the other was the devil. I've never enjoyed a close family, even holidays became barely restrained homocidal chaos.

    I never think much about it, it's normal for us, and it is what it is, so I never really "miss" what other families have, until I read something like this. It makes me sad to know we could have had something more like this and never did.

  7. Okay, so Bella has had those amazing eyes since birth, and she definitely gets them from you, your sister and your Mom!

    And your husband? VERY handsome!

  8. Aw, Erin, I'm sorry. Maybe it's not too late for some sort of "accomodation" among at least some of you. I can't imagine anyone not being fond of you, especially if they're blood!

    Very Handsome Husband SO has the big-head now. He is a dashing sort, though. ;-) When you see Bella's birthday post in a few days, you will SEE that she looks like her Daddy poured her out of a can. Those eyes are his, and my Dad's.

  9. This is the sweetest tribute to a sister I've ever heard . It made your Grandmom get tears in her eyes.

  10. Very sweet tribute to your gorgeous sister. I heart my one and only sis too. Our situatio is a little different since our parents are a little wacky and didn't really promote the loving, caring environment...we decided to venture out on our own & change the course that was provided by "nurture" (if that's what you want to call it). We both agreed we learned what *not* to do from Mom and Dad and are kindred spirits b/c of it. :)
    Happy Belated to Andrea. And Happy early to Bella, Belinda and your wonderful Daddy.

  11. yay! my brother and i are super tight and i always feel so badly for people who don't absolutely adore their sibs. yay you guys :)

    and she's not really gonna like this picture....

  12. Hi Belinda

    You are really somthing special as your heart is so kind for every memeber of your family
    I am 42 and I never had heard a Happy Birtday from any members of my Family I felt all my life neglected. I have one brother and we never speak to each other, Now I know he had sexually abused me and would love to beat me to death and he would laugh when I would cry for mercy to him not to beat me I have a wife who cheated on me and now I do not sleep with her Life is not so kind with everyone COngratulation and Happy Birthdya to your sis