For Wendy, On Her Birthday

My sister turns 50 today. For some reason, this seems more a profound marking of time to me than my own 50th birthday did. I’m guessing it’s because I’ve known her my whole life, she has always been my little sister, and I imagine when I am 90 and she is 88, she will still be my baby. I am privileged to have many people I love in my life, a great family and wonderful friends. But my relationship with my sister is unique. In addition to being a beloved friend of mine, she is the person I feel the most maternal towards. I would do anything for her, anything to safeguard her. Mild tempered as I am, if anyone hurts my sister, they had better watch out, because I will take them down and not look back.
As the two youngest in a family of five children, and the only girls, Wendy and I shared a bedroom, and would lay awake at night, after lights were out, sharing secrets and giggling. We can still remember hearing our mom down the hall, telling our dad “Grandma broke her toe” and thinking it was the funniest thing we had ever heard. Until the night we heard them talking about another relative, Fanny Weiner. There were jokes about Skinny Bomb Bald Head, and the horse with the dirty underwear. I have no idea what these jokes were about, but the thought of them still makes me happy.
Until we were old enough to rebel, our mother dressed us as twin princesses. Our clothes came from a precious little boutique called Prima Donna, and featured shifts with matching turtlenecks, kicky playsuits and smart little pantsuits. The Brady Girls were outfitted from the same shop, and Marcia Brady would often wear the same ensemble we were sporting. We’re lucky we weren’t regularly beat up.
Wendy and I are about 22 months apart, and closely resemble each other. Additionally, we have similar mannerisms, and sound alike. It always freaks people out when they see us together for the first time, twins but not twins. However, although we share many values and ideals, there are differences between us.
I am, and have always been, a bit of a priss. Wendy was more of a tomboy, and would taunt me by calling me The White Worm. Wendy is a little shy, I am more dramatic. I’m a little more stuck in my head, Wendy is more at one with nature. She’s an animal whisperer, better dresser, and makes the best mix cd’s I’ve ever heard. She is brave, she is beautiful, she is a nurturer. She raised two awesome children, both of whom I adore. She has seen me through hard times and was a wonderful nurse and protector during my recovery from foot surgery last year.
My sister isn’t perfect. I wouldn’t love her as much if she was. We can irritate each other, and of course, over 50 years, there have been squabbles. It never matters, and they are soon mended. No matter what, she will always have my back, and I will always have hers. Last year, when our mother was dying, Wendy went and spent the final week with her. I know she did this partially because it was easier for her to get away, and also to support our oldest brother. But, she also did it to protect me, because I couldn’t have borne it, and I will always be incredibly grateful.
All of these words and it doesn’t come close to conveying how much I love and adore my sister. I am lucky and blessed to have this wonderful woman in my life, and I know it’s a rare and precious gift. My beautiful Nes, you have my heart, you are my heart. Happy Birthday.
The end, for now


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