She once forced me to don a black wig and dress up as a Kardashian sister. With leopard leggings. I was Khloe, if you must know.
She presented me with a purple swim cap and made me join in a synchronized swimming routine at a swank Arizona resort.
She dragged me off clothes shopping when I was Slouching Towards Dowdiness.
She is the bossy one.
She is also the light of our family, the one with the zest for life and the contagious laugh. And she is turning fifty today.
She can do the best Axl Rose impression you’ve ever seen and serve as President of her local PEO chapter.
She can recite the lines to “Bridesmaids” verbatim and organize hugely successful high school band fundraisers.
She is that girl that everybody loves, the real-life version of those lyrics on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”: “who can turn the world on with her smile…..”
I thought it would be nice to write a post in honor of my baby sister’s fiftieth birthday, but it is proving to be a little harder than I ever imagined. How do I capture the essence of a person like Mary in a few paragraphs? Not very well if the constant fits and starts in writing this are any indicator.
We’re sisters but we’re not two peas in a pod. Mary’s thing? To have a BLAST: she loves to golf and ski and cavort in the swimming pool. I’d rather be reading. Quietly. She wants to go to the cowboy bar in Arizona and dance and raise a little Cain. I’d rather be reading. Quietly. She likes to dress up in costumes and play pranks on people. You know what I’d rather be doing. So you see I really need her to boss me into having some fun.
Everybody loves Mary. That’s the common denominator in any gathering – it doesn’t matter how diverse the group is – they all love Mary. And why? To me, the one who tends to analyze a bit much, I think it’s because she is the real deal, a genuinely nice person. When Mary meets somebody, her default is to like that person and to look for the good in them. People sense that they have just entered a no-judgment zone and they open up to her.
Yes, she’s uproariously funny, a brilliant mimic, and a genuinely nice person. But she’s so much more than that. She is a ferocious mother lion and a loyal and loving wife. She is a trusted friend and an excellent dog-mommy. And did I mention that she can do some pretty impressive stuff in the kitchen? Goat cheese and shrimp-stuffed poblanos, anyone? Oh my.
I’ll tell you something else that she bossed me into years ago. Yup, Mary pushed and prodded until I finally got a dog. (Come to think of it, middle sister, Sue, had a lot to do with that one as well.)
I hope you all have a “Mary” in your life: that person who adds a little life to things; that person you know is there for you and will tell you the truth. And especially that person who bosses you around a little…. for your own good, of course.
And so, dear one, no matter how old you are, you will always be my baby sister. I couldn’t ask for a better one. You brighten up our entire family with your inner joy and your sparkle. I hope your big day is a total BLAST.
And you’re welcome for not posting the picture of you as Kim Kardashian. XXX