Shhhhhh! Don't tell Steph I'm doing this, but I'm devoting my Tuesday Tribute to my sister. Let's hope she doesn't read this while she's here at my place because she and her big head (read: ego) won't fit in my house. That reminds me of a fantastic scene in So I Married An Axe Murderer with Mike Myers:
Now back to my tribute. Auntie Boom is my sister, Stephanie. My only true sister who earned the nickname of Auntie Boom when Jake was around 18 months old. He couldn't yet talk, but he had the amazing ability of using gestures and sounds to tell a story. So I had left Jake to be babysat by his Aunt Steph and his Grandma. When we were reunited, I asked Jacob if he had had a good time. He proceeded to tell me a story without words, where he described how Steph was carrying him, she fell down, then Jake smacks the floor with his hand and says "BOOM!". Hence the name Auntie Boom. Steph insists she never dropped Jake. That she placed him on his feet before she fell to the floor. Either way, the name stuck and will likely remain until she becomes Auntie Geezer.
My relationship as big sister to Steph spans three decades of me bossing her around and guilting her into everything. I took great pleasure as a kid of pulling her eyelashes to lift her eyes open when she was sleeping so she would awake to my face staring into her open eyes. Or to tie her with a skipping rope to the pole. Or my favourite was when she tried to follow me and my friends- we hopped a fence that was on top of a hill, overlooking the busy highway below. Steph followed after me and when she went to jump off the fence, her jacket caught her and left her dangling. I found this very funny and left her there to suffer. (What can I say. I was just a kid myself). Steph and I have not always enjoyed the same interests, but we have always found a strong connection through our equally sarcastic and annoying sense of humour. When our dad would take us for the weekend, we worked really really hard at ticking him off, so that we could enjoy making fun of him for it afterwards. On our long drives, we would write notes in the back window of the car for traffic to read: "Help us, we've been kidnapped", or we'd sing television commercial jingles at the top of our lungs, over and over and over again until he would snap. We would experiment with magic potions; watching the microwave window to see how long a marshmallow could last until its messy explosion inside. We pierced our own ears (a painful memory we are best to forget), we watched the same movies a million times over and enjoyed the really cheesy shows that everyone else would turn off ie. Mickey Mouse Club, Kids Incorporated, Saved By the Bell, Harriet's Magic Hats, and the list goes on.
Growing up, Mom worked a lot and Steph and I became that much more dependent on the other for company, for support and for care. It's a bond that only strengthened as we became adults. She is the first person I call when I am upset or emotional, when I've had a bad day and need to vent. If we have good news, I want to share it with my sister. If I'm in a funny or awkward social situation, I always look around and wish my sister was there to share the joke. We share a secret understanding when people-watching or when in a circumstance that requires for us to remain cool and respectable, but our instinct is to laugh uncontrollably. I just have to flick my eyes to Steph's for a split second and I know that she can read my mind and we make a mental note to share and laugh about it later when it's safe to.
I am the oldest and always got the praises for being smart or responsible. Steph got away with a lot more and she was the funny and pretty one. We could both say the same sarcastic thing, but the offensive comment would send me to my room, while Steph's delivery would have a parent rolling with laughter. Being the oldest often got me more respect and attention, but Steph has proved herself as an adult. I am really proud of her accomplishments, even if she doesn't recognize them as such. Steph always did her own thing and adamantly insisted that she would not be tied down to a 9 to 5 office job her whole life. She explored her own interests in university and college and didn't stick with something that she hated out of obligation, something I am very jealous of. She worked the jobs she hated, but stuck them out to pay the bills. I always had Jonathan to share the load when it came to paying my way as a grown-up with grown-up responsibilities and payments, but Steph managed to figure it out on her own. She's the younger sister who, when she borrowed money- she actually paid it back! AND she'd lend ME money when I needed it too! Most people find career jobs through friends who help them out or a parent who nudges open the door, but Steph got into the airline industry all on her own. She thinks we are joking when we say that we are proud of her for this job, but we really are. She is doing something she really wanted to do and she has done it all on her own, not to mention that she has used her French that she thought she lost after school.
When each of my boys were born, she was right there, despite her fear and intense dislike and discomfort of hospitals. She was as emotional as I was at their birth and I couldn't imagine her not being there to share it with us. Her love for Jake, Will and Owen is obvious and they feel it too- even from across the country. There is no doubt that they love her as much as she loves them. I am proud that she is such a great aunt to them and I hope that someday there may be a child for her because she's going to make a wonderful mom. Motherhood may not (yet) be something we share, but I know Steph does her best to understand the ride that I am on with my boys. I truly appreciate that she has always tried to be there for me and us with our every challenge.
Steph sometimes comes off as shy, introverted or even rude, but it's likely that she's too embarrassed to say anything. Her ego isn't as large as her Charlie Brown-sized head might suggest, or her pretty looks would make you assume. She's real. She's fun. She is as loyal as they come. She is reliable. Her sense of humour is one of my favourite things about her. She's smart. She's well-rounded. She's passionate. She's a sap (like me). She can't sing- even though our Nanna told her she was very talented- NOT! She shares my love for pop culture and trashy tv. Thank goodness she's become a reader of great books so I get great gifts! She's got style. She has determination. She's got a temper, but she's also got the capacity to forgive and admit when she's wrong (because I never am). I'm told she's finally turning into a cook.
Finally - she is my sister. And I am so grateful for that. My only regret is that we don't live closer and I wish that we could spend more time together in our daily lives.
She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she's the reason you wish you were an only child. ~Barbara Alpert
May 11th has just been formally declared My Sister Day. Love you, Auntie Boom!
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