When she was born, I was filled with an amazement I had never before experienced. A real baby, with a perfect miniature face, and perfect little toes. Even her cry was beautiful. I was convinced there had never been a cuter baby in existence.
When she was two we had to share a bedroom so that Amy could get the privileged of having her own room. She ate all my gum and scribbled in all my books and stole my paints and smeared them all over the walls. I wanted nothing more than to never have to share a room with her again.
When she was eight the tides had shifted, and after a long and lonely day of being sick I would sleep in her room instead of my own. I sang her a song I wrote, called “Pinch Me Where’s the Fire,” and she liked it so much she asked me to sing it over and over, and didn’t even realize I’d made it up.
There were almost nine years between us. I didn’t think that I would ever be friends with her the way that I was friends with Amy, who was only two years older than me.
I moved away from home when she was nine, and for the next couple of years I only saw her in bits and snatches, over Christmas, or during a summer visit. It was like viewing her life as a series of photographs, each one markedly older than the last. There was so much I was missing.
She was eleven when I moved back home, and I determined that I was going to appreciate my youngest sister’s short youth. As much as I miss the independence of living on my own, I think it’s worth it to have been here to watch her grow up.
The nine years that used to float between us as a barrier to being REAL friends don’t even matter anymore. They just mean that a 15-year-old can be taught to drive by a friend instead of a parent.
And so, today, we celebrated her 16’th birthday.
Jenny: Let’s take a selfie!
Me: And I’ll point to the presents!
It seemed like a cool idea I guess, and so we balanced at odd angles to get the picture.
Mom went all artsy and made her own wrapping paper with garage sale price-tag dots. Which drove me crazy because they WOULD NOT PROPERLY STICK TO THE PACKAGES.
Jenny: What is this, a book light necklace?
Ben: Where were you shopping, Mom, Sky Mall?
Me: Oh! That’s funny! I need to take a picture so I can post about it on my blog!
(It turned out to be just an ordinary book light. Too bad. Maybe next year we can console her by getting her a giant yeti statue for the front lawn.)
Now we move on to the Chinese restaurant where the family (minus Amy in Thailand in Matt in DC, miss you xoxo) celebrated the birthday girl. The lighting made for bad photos but whatever.
Jenny poses with the tulips that Dad bought her.
Ben has a halo.
I have virtually the same expression Jenny had in the previous photograph.
This was my attempt to take a selfie of the whole family, which is just so comically bad I had to show it. Only half of us show up in it, and 1/3 of the people who DO show up don’t even realize they’re being photographed.
I took this photo of Steven for no particular reason. Except I hadn’t taken a picture of him yet.
Anyway. Back to the point. Jenny, I hope you have a lovely time being 16, and I am glad you are you.