Happy Birthday, Lil Sis!

Today is my sister Karen’s birthday. My earliest childhood memory is watching Dad build her crib while I was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I’m sure I didn’t know who the crib was for or that my life was about to change forever. But that memory and driving home from the hospital in the pouring rain are still with me.

Karen didn’t impress me much when my parents first brought her home. I was 3 1/2 years old and, up until then, had the whole place all to myself. When the new kid on the block showed up, she got a lot of attention. Apparently, we had to share things. What was that about? I found it, and her, annoying.

One day, my mom had Karen on the floor and marveled at her wriggling around, ready to explore the world around her. Mom exclaimed: “Look at Karen! She is really going places!”

And I replied: “Is she going to go back to the hospital?!”

Out of the mouths of babes, right?

Several decades later, I’m so glad that my parents didn’t take her back. There are very few people in my life who know me better than Karen. We are like one of those couples who can finish each other’s sentences. Except we aren’t a couple, and the sentences are text messages because we live in different states now. But, every day, I will text her something – like a joke or a phrase or a memory – and she will text back, “GET OUT OF MY HEAD” because she was about to text me the same thing. I’m just faster on the iPhone than she is. 🙂

We celebrate accomplishments and cry on each other’s shoulders. She may not solve my problems, and I may not be able to help her as much as I’d like to, but we are damn sure that we don’t face them alone. Right now, the theme song from Friends is going through my head, and I’m realizing that the words apply to sisters too.

So no one told you life was going to be this way.
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s DOA.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear,
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.

But, I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.
I’ll be there for you, like I’ve been there before.
I’ll be there for you, cause you’re there for me too.

Love you, Karen. Happy Birthday! Thanks, Mom and Dad, for giving me a sister and not taking her back to the hospital.



5 comments on Happy Birthday, Lil Sis!

  1. Karen
    July 20, 2023 at 10:38 am (2 months ago)

    I think the key to our sibling happiness is that we are intentional with how we communicate. Great relationships -even siblings- don’t magically happen, they require thoughtfulness, humility, curiosity, compassion and acceptance. Oh and 1980s pop culture memes. I love you big sis.

  2. Tamara
    July 20, 2023 at 1:52 am (2 months ago)

    “Is she going to go back to the hospital?!” Bahahaaaahahahah!
    My Mom tells me it was similar with my baby brother. Like you, I was 3yo, and I had high expectations when they told me I was going to have a sibling. I expected him to be able to play with me. Actually I would have preferred a sister. 😜
    Instead he was just lying there, babbling. Disappointing. i don’t think I told them to take him back though.
    What a wonderful relationship the two of you are having! That explains why you NEED your phone to work properly in order to send her ☕️ coffee memes 💖

  3. Doug
    July 20, 2023 at 1:01 am (2 months ago)

    The phrase “for better or worse” must apply to siblings too.

  4. Alice Gerard
    July 20, 2023 at 12:07 am (2 months ago)

    I am glad that you weren’t able to send your sister back to the hospital and that you are so happily bonded. Happy birthday, Karen!

  5. Martha
    July 19, 2023 at 11:04 pm (2 months ago)

    What sweet memories of you and your sister. Happy Birthday Karen!

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