Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dear Inga...Happy Birthday to You

Next week is my sister's birthday. She is two years older than I am, but has recently taken to telling people that she's two years younger. When I was in Oklahoma visiting her a few weeks ago, someone asked the question we're always asked when we're together: "Are you two sisters?!" Without skipping a beat and with a shocked expression, I replied, "No. She's my mother!" I thought she was going to stroke out right there in the middle of the V.F.W.

Inga and I are close, in terms of our family. We've had periods in our lives where we've had large gaps of time between communications due to distance and circumstance, but as we've grown older, I think we've decided that we like each other as people and we've become friends. For the past decade at least, we've built a nice, loving and comfortable sister-friendship.

When we were kids, Inga and I were probably each other's best friend. Since we were only two years apart, we were the closest in age of all of our sisters and that made for easy companionship. Because she was older though, she always had that trump card up her sleeve. I was her test subject for many things and I usually ended up either wounded or in trouble because she always made me do everything first. Smart girl, that one.

Me? Not so smart because I always fell for it. I knew I was her guinea pig, but I also wanted to please her, so I always charged ahead (usually after much bickering and bargaining) and tried out the tire swing (which broke with me in it, mid swing), slid down the barn roof (who knew it was rusty and had nails sticking out of it?!), and jumped off the roof with an open umbrella in hand to see if I would float to the ground like Mary Poppins. (I didn't.)

My parents always used to call me the "record keeper" of the family. Not only do I write everything down, but I have an uncanny ability to remember almost everything.

If I am the memory for my family, Inga has been the thread that has tried to keep us all bound together. That thread has been stretched and pulled and has broken many times, yet she persists.

I am grateful for my sister. She is a gift in my life. I often times think that she carries around burdens that are not hers to carry, but how can I convince her to do otherwise? It is who she is.

On her birthday, I wish for her happiness of the greatest sort. The kind of happiness that makes her walk around with a smile on her face for no reason at all and the kind that makes her heart feel like it's floating out of her chest. She deserves that and more.

Happy birthday, Sister. I love you.


lakeviewer said...

You are lucky to have a sister you get along with, can kid with, and can share memories with.

I slipped down and read your earlier post, where you're so hard on your self, and smiled. You were just spitting back at yourself there, for a while, kind of mean-spirited and all. I'm glad you're getting over it.

Amy said...

Rosaria - Yes, I am lucky, aren't I?! And, thanks for the support. I do have my moments (that seem somehow to turn into days), and I'm so glad when I'm able to finally shake them off.

ellen abbott said...

You could be writing about my sister...the thread, the holder of burdons not hers, friends. the only difference is that we were not close as children (3 years between us) but grew to know and love each other as adults.

Andrea said...

Aren't sisters great? Hope she has a wonderful birthday. She obviously has a wonderful sister!

Pyzahn said...

I have an unusual last name and a prickly brother who knows a lot of people in town. When I meet someone who asks if I'm related to him, and if I'm feeling particularly naughty, I will say I'm his ex-wife. I know it will get back to him eventually and really tick him off.

We all have our own ways of having fun!

Amy said...

Ellen - How wonderful that you have a sister-friend in your life! I say that we were each other's best friends when we were kids, but we were each others greatest rivals as well sometimes.

Andrea - Thanks! You're a doll.

Pyzahn - Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Yes, sometimes my greatest fun is had by being a bit of a prankster. Good times, huh?!

Reya Mellicker said...

This is lovely! I have a sister who is 13 months younger than I am - an "Irish twin." I love her so much it's ridiculous.

What a beautiful picture!

Amy said...

Reya - Irish Twin! I haven't heard that phrase in years! Isn't it grand to have a sister-friend? And, thanks for the comment on the picture. We both think we're incredibly goofy looking.