January 18th, Cary Grant’s birthday. Also my sister’s birthday, and I’m much more sad about her not being around to celebrate.
She didn’t make movies, she didn’t have a cute accent. She didn’t feel the need to marry several times in search of happiness, my brother-in-law adored her.
The best bit though, accent or no accent, was that she was my big sister. She protected me in my childhood as best she could from the craziness we grew up in. She gave me compliments in a household better known for tearing us down. And maybe it’s silly, but I can still remember the time I had my hair on the enormous juice-can size rollers we used back then and she said “You even look pretty in those! You could be a model or in a commercial!” My heart glowed with her words, and that feeling comes back whenever I remember.
She was the biggest recipient of the craziness in that house, physical, emotional, sexual. I’m thankful our parents were apathetic by the time I came along–mostly I only had to deal with utter emotional neglect.
I know only part of the lies my childhood etched into my bones, and I can only imagine what lies were etched into my sister’s. But throughout her life she loved me and supported me and laughed with me as we pulled the ridiculous from our lives, humor making many aspects of the darkness and divisiveness of our family more bearable. We accepted the differences in our outlooks and beliefs because being two girls who survived those early years and still loved each other was more important.
To my big sister Patti, gone now for nearly 5 years, Cary may have made my heart flutter, but your love and laughter and kindnesses to me FILLED my heart. Thank you for that. I miss you every day.