Susan as Ghost, 2003
Originally uploaded by panopticon.
On this day, in 1976, my oldest and dearest friend was born: my sister, Susan.
I was an only child for the first five years of my life. According to the psychology books a new baby should have been a source of disruption and anger for me.
From the moment (I remember it clearly) that my parents told me the stork was on the way, I decided I wanted a sister and started praying for one.
And when I got the happy news, this morning in 1976, I did a frenetic dance around living room screaming "I have a sister! I have a sister!"
Later that day, when the chickens we were hatching in my kindergarten classroom started to emerge from their shells, I changed the name of mine from "Farrah Fawcett" to "Susan" in her honor.
You have to give this girl credit for surviving to adulthood.
Over the years she patiently put up with having a brother who:
- Always, always got the bigger bedroom in every house we lived in;
- Frequently dressed her up like a doll according to his capricious whims;
- Messed with her hair, on one occasion braiding it into cornrows;
- Livened up her pre-teen weekends with day-long trips to art museums;
- When called upon to help her come up with a fun Halloween costume for a little kids' party, persuaded her to go as the Queen of the Night from Mozart's opera Die Zauberflöte;
- During a game of "Magical Princess Who Can Fly," threw her, head first, into the bedroom wall.
And yet she survived. Thrived, even.
Nowadays, the tiny thing I first saw in a hospital incubator (difficult birth, ask my mother for gory details) goes forth daily to a high school classroom and coaxes a love for Romeo and Juliet out of teenagers who otherwise might never give a damn.
Me, I can still be bossy and will never get over the urge to dress her up (we made the ghost photograph above during a Christmas visit two years ago). But she's still patient with me and I can only hope she knows it always comes from love.
Love, and the fact that she got the tall, slender figure that clothes hang well on, and the lovely head of dark, shiny hair. Oh, and let's not forget, the itty bitty little nose and the flawless complexion.
Not that I'm bitter or anything. Happy Birthday, Sue Pie.