May 4 2011

I grew up without a sister.

My sister-in-law, Kim, finds that tragic.

But I’ve never missed having one.

Never ever.

Except the time when I was 3, and my parents brought home a baby brother.  Which was the exact opposite of the gender I requested.  Because, apparently, my parents can’t follow basic instructions.

So, when I was 3, I missed having a sister.

And the time when I was 13, and my brother was 10, and he and his friends decided to pelt me with baby coconuts (which I swear are harder than rocks — have someone throw one at your head if you’re skeptical).  So Justice forced me to push him just a teensy, weensy bit.  And he cried like the baby he was, and then he told Mom and Dad that I slammed his head into our concrete porch.

I still think “slam” is a little harsh.  And if my brother says anything about bleeding out his ears, you heard it here first that he’s a Liar Liar Pants on Fire.

Which means that when I was 13, I wished for a sister.

And the time when I was 17, and my brother had enough of my pithy, delightful, and helpful comments so he bodily lifted me up and dumped me outside, brushed off his hands and locked the front door.

So when I was 17, outside shivering in the cold, banging on the door and yelling “LET ME IN!,” I kind of wanted a sister.

But the rest of the time, I didn’t miss it.  Not a bit.

And, frankly, now that I have a sister-in-law like Kim, who insists I abide by Sister Rules, I have no idea what to do with her.

It’s kind of like growing up in a Brother Ghetto full of sarcasm, gas, and beer (alright – the beer wasn’t while we were growing up – that came a little later), and then being invited to a black tie Sister Soiree with strange, new things like pomp, manners, and forks.

So, every once in a while, Kim takes me in hand for Sister Lessons.  It’s usually when she can’t stand my sister ignorance anymore.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned.


On Panties

Old, cotton, holey panties are not OK.

If your sister finds out that, oh, maybe due to a twin pregnancy that expanded both your skin and your panty elastic beyond their ability to stretch

and if your panty elastic is tired of the abuse and is clearly trying jump to its death…

and if you have no freaking time in the whole entire universe to go panty shopping…

then your sister will go straight to the store to buy you a whole new panty wardrobe.

With bows, and satin, and see-through lace.  (Although I admit I’m still a little befuddled on why I want to see through my panties.)

A whole new panty wardrobe!

‘Cause that’s what a sister does.

(If any men are still reading at this point, I apologize.  But, if you’ve hung in there this long, then you should know that a whole new panty wardrobe makes a great birthday, Mother’s Day (um, for the mother of your children — not your actual mother — just to be crystal clear on Things Not to Buy Your Mother), or It’s Wednesday present.  And, if the significant woman in your life made you read this far against your will, this is why.  THIS IS WHY.)


On Fashion Shows

If you make the grave error of shopping for clothes alone, which I now understand is one of the Seven Deadly Sins (replacing Gluttony, ’cause, let’s be honest, those of us in the Western World have been ignoring that one for ages), you are obligated, upon your return, to do a fashion show.

Of everything you bought.

Including skivvies.  Although, for the record, I suspect Kim’s taking advantage of my Sister Gullibility on this one.

And, just so you know, a fashion show isn’t a suggestion.

A fashion show is a gun-to-your-head, do-it-or-die activity.

If you don’t do Fashion Show, you might as well spit in your sister’s face.  Ka-plooey.

I had no idea.

Until Kim.

And you also have to do the Fashion Show Catwalk if you wear something particularly sassy.

As a matter of fact, here’s an Easter Day picture of my Aden doing the Sassy Walk, forced, of course, by her sister:

If you’re wondering whether I actually let Aden go to church on Easter Sunday wearing her pretty dress with flower socks and bright pink knock-off Crocs… of course I did.  Have you met me?  I was proud her hair was brushed.


On Talonlike Toenails

Your sister is allowed — nay, obligated — to tell you when your toenails are getting long and talonlike.

If you don’t believe her…

If you try to tell her your toenails are perfectly fine, thank you very much…

If you mention, oh-so-casually, that your running shoes fit and you’ve had no trouble at all…

Then she’ll flick them like this to prove she’s right:

I swear it’s true.

Kim’s hand to my foot.


On Photos

Your sister may, every once in a while, want a photo taken with you.

Good sisters ask first and allow time for the application of lip goo.

Brothers just tackle your neck in a headlock and shove a camera in your face.  Which is a sister no-no.


On Daughters Who Are Sisters

And even if you have, say, one older daughter who makes friends easily and has lots of companions and is socially appropriate and smells nice…

And one daughter who’s laugh-out-loud funny, but has trouble making friends because she might hit other kids a lot, and she smells like cheesy feet, and she wears pink knock-off crocs to church on Easter Sunday because her Mommy doesn’t to teach her how to dress…

And your girls don’t really hang out together even though you wish they were closer…

Every once in a while, if you’re really lucky, you might find a photo on your camera that you didn’t know they took that will give you a little bit of hope…

That, someday, they too will buy each other panties, and do more fashion shows and generally be there for each other.  ‘Cause they’re sisters, and that’s what good sisters do.


So, you see, I don’t miss having a sister.  Not one bit.

And if you don’t have a sister, or your daughter doesn’t have a sister, you shouldn’t worry.  She won’t miss it, either.

But if you’re really lucky — and you put in your Burping, Farting, Beer-Guzzling Brother Time — then maybe, just maybe, he’ll go and marry you a sister-in-law.

And if your sister-in-law’s baby boy is still stuck in her belly… and he shows absolutely no sign of coming anytime soon even though your sister-in-law feels huge and exhausted and ready for him to come…

Then you might write a blog post on sisters, and how the in-law title fades, and how important she is to you, and how you wish her the best and love her, love her, love her.

And, then, at the very end, you might also squeeze in a tiny little note about how very, super much you love the boy who impregnated her.  But you won’t get all gushy and gross about it ’cause he’s your brother.  So, instead, you’ll tackle him in a virtual neck-breaking, headlock and yell, “You da man, Jeff.  Booyah!”

The End.