It didn’t matter what it was– if my older sister Rachel did it or had it, it was cool.
Self-cut tapered hair? Sweet.
Physical therapy for her broken arm? Hottest spot on the black.
Paper clip retainers that made your gums bleed? Nothin but the coolest!
Despite the impression I’m giving, my older sister really does have it goin on (although I think we’re all glad her Avril/punk phase is over). Lucky for me, because it saved me from ever having to pick out a prom or homecoming dress, trying to figure out the hippest dance moves on my own, and even breaking up with my freshman year boyfriend. (In all fairness, I did help write the script).
While Rach spent her college years at UT and I went to Rice, I suffered some major withdrawal from my older sister, personal stylist, and best friend. Fortunately, Teach for America plopped her right back by my side for my final two years at Rice and reminded me of how insanely wonderful it is to live close to my sister. We took total advantage of our city-mate status, going to to Hungry’s approximately twice a week, cooking dinner for each other regularly, having sleepovers in her cloud of a bed, watching Intervention and depressing documentaries until Leslie made us stop, and bringing D.E.A.R. time back in style. I also got to witness the sweetest, cutest, most inspiring teaching on the planet as Rachel gained a huge fan base among her students at the Rusk School, who are undoubtedly on different life paths becauase of her.
Today that girl, who I’ve tried my hardest to be like and be around since the day I was born, gets to add one more candle to her cake and sponge up the love from her family and countless friends. Unfortunately I can’t be in Dallas with her right now, but I’m thrilled to spend a few solid weeks with her in Texas this summer, starting in just about a month. Our time together is never enough but after a year apart, I’ll take what I can get… until we make good on our promise to move next door to each other, share a backyard, coordinate our kids’ ages, and take turns cooking dinner for each other’s families every night.
Happy Birthday, Sis! I love you!!!
Now Matt. (I thought Rach deserved to go first since I know you’ll steal her candle-blowing thunder tonight). Where do I even begin?
I can’t really rave about my older brother’s knack for fashion or break-ups, but what he lacks in those areas, he more than makes up for in backpacks (26 last time I inventoried), brains, and a big ole grin. His teacher once used the f-word to describe how delightful he was to teach, and heck, I would too if one of my former students played such sophisticated words in a casual Bananagrams game.
What impresses me even more than Matt’s brilliance, however, is his ability to disguise it. It might be his humility– I’ve never heard him mention that he’s a Harvard law student– or maybe it’s his tendency to do some pretty not smart things for such a smart guy, which I love. Eating a big hairball from an elevator floor, for example. Locking his keys in his car with the engine running… about four times. And chewing a piece of moldy gum from the bottom of a shoe 10 times before swallowing it just so he could wear Luke’s watch for two weeks.
On top of that genuis/goofy mixture, my big brother is a talented guitarist, harmonica dabbler, distance runner, lacrosse player, and snowboarder– about as killer of a combo that I know of. I got a healthy dose of all that and more during the two summers we lived together in Colorado and at most of my important meets as far away as Indianapolis, Des Moines and Eugene. I don’t think a more supportive, proud, or kind older brother exists in this world, nor another person whose opinions and perspective I value more.
Today, we get to celebrate our buddy Possum Jones and the start of another year of law-learning, music-playing, challenge-accepting, and big bro-rocking. I’ll try to do something outrageous to make you proud today, and I definitely owe you a Town Lake run and Austin Java feast the first weekend I visit you in Austin.
Happy Birthday, Matt! So much love!!!
Well, you two… You know I’d roll a red carpet from Dallas to Turku and parade you all the way here to celebrate with me if I could. But since I can’t, we’ll have to honor your big two-six about one month late. Enjoy yourselves and each other today and don’t forget that you have an adoring little sister who’s thinking about you all day long. I love you both so much and am counting down the days til I can say that in person. Happy birthday, Rach and Matt!