Well, okay, that shouldn't be news. I've been a big sister for exactly nineteen years now. I have one younger sister, Lisa, and two younger brothers - Mark and Stuart. They are all very lovely young people, and I like to think that I had something to do with that.
At any rate, I first became a big sister on this day, May 26, in 1987. I was three and a half. I was hanging out with my grandma, as I did back in those days. I remember going to the hospital and being made to scrub my hands very thoroughly. I also had to wear a little hospital gown that was yellow and covered with trains. I got to hold my "baby brother Marky," who looked very much to me like a strange, bald, wrinkled, tiny old man. The nurses at the hospital gave me a little metal pin that said "I'M A BIG SISTER!" This all seemed very fun to me, I'm sure. And then they brought him home.
Obviously my parents had been prepping me with the whole "you're going to have to be a big girl and help Mommy and Daddy out with the baby" bit, but I had no idea what I was in for. Over the next 18 years, Mark would simultaneously be my best friend and my biggest nemesis, a walking disaster and a brilliant genius, a Boy Scout and a Spice Girl. As a baby, he was jaundiced and accident-prone. He didn't speak comprehendable English until he was about five, and he was potty-trained around the same time. He was horribly uncoordinated and goofy. And while I was capable of being a good big sister most of the time, I had times where I was just a big bully. I won't go into the specifics of those times, but trust me - they happened.
Despite the fact that I was mean to him, despite the fact that it took him damn near a year to learn how to ride a bike, despite the fact that he used to actually allow my friends and I to dress him up like a girl, Mark has turned out to be one of the most intelligent, amazing, kind, and wonderful people I've ever known. It takes a truly exceptional person - a teenager at that - to spend their spare time volunteering at nursing homes and helping old people figure out how to use a computer. He's a talented pianist (yeah, he's even better than me), he speaks fluent German, he cares about politics and current events (now that is my influence), he's always up for a road trip or adventure, and he's one of my favorite people.
Marky, I just want you to know how so very proud of you I am. I'm proud to know you, but I'm even prouder to be able to say I'm your sister. You never cease to amaze me, and I love you so much.
Frohe Geburtstag, kleiner Bruder.