Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Natalie!

Today is my sister Natalie's yetheretherhythm! I mean, her birthday! And so today I am dedicating my post to pictures of her beautiful face. And beautiful Natalie thoughts.

Wasn't she adorable? I loved her right from the start. Clearly.

So, let's see...I'm still twenty-five, and she's three years younger than me, so that makes her...twenty-two! Happy 22nd Birthday, Nat! Boy, do you look great.

Like a doll, only better!

I went looking for my two favorite pictures of you of all time. You know, the close-up profile shot taken when we came to visit you in Akron, OH, years ago? Your hair was bobbed and your sweater matched your eyes. And the one that dad took in the technicolor sweater when you were about fifteen? (I have the shot of you and Lee from that same session, but you have gum in your mouth and you'd slap me if I posted that one, maybe.) No dice, otherwise. But while I was looking for those and not finding them, I found all of these and got all farklempt.

"Mwah! Man, am I ever good at this big sister thing."

I'm sorry that I didn't let you play with me and Shannon.
I'm sorry for hitting you with that doll by dad's stereo.
I'm sorry for leaning on you too hard during our teens.
I'm sorry for every time you heard, "Oh, you're Angela's sister!"
I'm sorry for hogging so much of Mom's attention and time.
I'm sorry that it took you so long to grow hair.

When I was about thirteen, Natalie climbed into my bed and told me, "You're my best friend." She looked completely lost and my heart broke for her. I wasn't even a particularly good sister. Looking into her eyes I said to myself, "If you're the best she's got, you're gonna have to do better than this." And I have thanked God a million times since for that moment, because the truth is that I was the one receiving a gift: a companion and a confidant and a champion. (She has turned on unsuspecting detractors like a Fury, and defended me when I couldn't defend myself, so I warn you all: don't come against me ,or anyone one else that she loves, 'cause she'll cut a bitch!)

See? Fierce!

So, for the girl who knows all of my buttons and how to push them, the girl who's loved me and hated me when I've loved and hated her, the girl who grew up with me and laughed with me and cried with me and is not only one of my beloved sisters, but one of my dearest friends:

Happy Birthday, Baby. I am so glad that you're here.