Growing up this is pretty much how it went: I got in trouble, you tried to bail me out. Now as it goes with the whole big sister/little sister thing you were supposed to pave the way. You know, screw up a few times, drink a warm wine cooler that you kept in the back of your closet, makeout with that boy that Mom and Dad didnt approve of….but instead, you literally sang in the choir, didnt drink until you were 21, and had a steady lineup of admirers/boyfriends who could be explained as adjectives like “kind,” “sweet,” and “handsome.”
And even though you were always trying to bail me out of trouble, or convince Mom and Dad I should not be grounded you didnt necessarily try to talk me out of the things that landed me in trouble in the first place. Oh no, you liked to kinda watch it all from the sidelines before it became a giant-slow-moving-car-wreck.
When I was 6 and you were 8 we were sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner and Mom and Dad were downstairs. We were big fans of Dennis the Menace at that point in our lives and would watch it on Nickelodian from our giant TV in a wooden frame that sat on the ground before there were remotes.
At any rate, we were very captivated by the relationship between Dennis and Mr. Wilson (the crotchety old neighbor that was always trying to spoil Dennis’s fun) and in this past episode, Dennis was having some wild time in his backyard doing something ridiculous and amazing and hooting and hollaring while doing it. Anyway, Mr. Wilson was having none of this and decided to spray Dennis and his fun with his garden hose putting a stop to the madness. Oh Mr. Wilson.
So dinner in our house was as intersting as you can imagine it can be when a Mom from Korea is learning to cook American cuisine. On that particular dinner I believe we were eating meatloaf which consisted of a pound of ground beef, shaped into a meatloaf pan, seasoned with absolutley nothing except for 3 pieces of sandwhich chees (the kind in the celophane), and ketchup squirted into the middle as well. You could only pray to get a middle piece, but well odds were you were getting an end. Aka meat. loaf. literally.
Looking down at our meal we decided to reinact the scene from last nights episode. Your plate was Dennis, and mine was Mr. Wilson, and it culminated in this absolutley amazing finale in which I gleefully poured my milk all over your plate (summoning my best 80-year old man voice saying something old manish and rude), and we laughed hysterically and held our stomachs and pounded the table with our tiny fists as we watched as the milk ran over your plate, onto the table, and dripped onto the floor.
Now even though we lived our childhood lives with a pretty much complete lack of supervision, our hysterics brought both Mom and Dad and dad’s moustache into the kitchen to see what the hell we had done this time. At quick glance my milk glass was empty, yours was full, and thus, up to my room I went.
You visited me later and brought me cookies, and I love this memory because this perfectly describes me and you. We played like there was no tomorrow when we were kids. With the Merkels down the street, we were downright unstoppable. One summer the Merkels got a pool, and damn, did we strike the lottery with that one or what? We would bowl every Saturday with our friends, in a bowling leauge where we called ourselves “The Pin Pals.” Pretty sure you came up with that one, becaues you were always coming up with the clever things. We also decided one summer with the Merkels of course, that we would put on a talent show. Well first, we needed some money to fund our operation, as our old purple boombox had finally bit it. So what do you do when you’re 8 years old and need money? You sell weird shit. So my idea was to put some lemonade in a wagon and go door to door to sell it. Sounds pretty normal right? Well I actually put the lemonade in the wagon, as in the wagon (a very old rusty one at that) was holding about 8 gallons of lemonade just sloshing around in it, and I offered it with a ladel, and a cup, for a bargain price of 2 dollars. Had you known I was going to do that, you would have stopped me and explained to me why that was gross. And even though old Mrs. Ogletree died a few weeks later from a heart attack that summer, I secretly held the horror that I had killed her with my wagon water. We were all totally deflated the day that we saved up all of our change for months to dump into the creek that ran through our backyard so it could “float to the poor kids in Africa.” we watched, completely crestfallen as all of our coins sank to the bottom, and maybe one penny make it about 3 feet down the bank. See even you didnt get it right all the time. Just most of the time.
As in, the amazing choices you have made in your life that have taken you to today. You have created such a beautiful life, and I am so so proud of you. In matters of love, you ALWAYS said yes. I mean, did you ever not have a boyfriend? And then you find this amazing guy, your now husband, and the amazing father to my two favorite people in this world: your son and daughter. And I look at you, and what you have created, and I am so inspired.
When you were 5 you announced to the world that you would be a teacher. And you are. A brilliant one at that, preferring to work with special needs populations, over general education. Always seeking environments that would both challenge you and fulfill you. When you were 7 you started thinking about your wedding and the man of your dreams, and when you were 23 you made both of those things official in a beautiful ceremony. And I’m not sure when you decided you were going to be a mother, but I simply cannot imagine you not being a mother, and you are a beautiful one at that. You lead with patience, and love, and possibility….and it shows up in the lives of Payton and Sam. They are amazing kids with huge hearts and open eyes, and I want you to know that you and Jon have everything to do with that.
What you have done for me as my “big sis” is provide me with a constant source of protection, and a lighthouse for me to come back to every single time I lost my way. And I have lost my way countless times, and yet there you are always, never ever once telling me “I told you so.” but instead “what do you need right now.”
Here’s another thing you do, you never ever ever get in the way of me figuring things out, saying yes to an adventure, or doing something completely mad. Unless I’m in imminet danger, you create a tow line for me, space for me to go explore, but you are never ever too far away should I need a line-in.
You used to call me Lyn (something that only sounds normal when said by Mom, Dad or you) but now you call me Shinny. Shinny is the name Payton gave me a few years back when she couldnt say Lyndsey and it’s just stuck. And now when we are on the phone you yell loudly “Auntie Shinny is on the phone!!!!!” and usually I’ll get a little voice on the other end for about 38-seconds of ridiculousness, but because you know how much this means to me, you do it everytime.
Of anyone else in my life, I can say with confidence you have believed in me the most. In your eyes I cannot fail, and I want you to know I feel this from you, and you believing in me has made all the difference.
Every year you seem to be kicking even more ass than the year before. The past few years have found you taking on triatholons, and quite honestly if you told me 20 years ago that my big sis with 2-left feet, braces, and a perm, would be doing this, I wouldnt have bet the wagon water : ) But you are chock full of surprises. And now you are a coach in some type of Mom-boot-camp where you kick other Mom’s asses and they thank you for it like ALL the time (cause I see it on your facebook wall). Anyway I just want to let you know that I believe you are unstoppable. I believe you are the best mother I have ever seen. I believe you are the best sister I could have ever hoped for in my lifetime. And I believe that even though I wouldnt have gotten in nearly as much trouble without your instigation, its all. been. worth it.
I love you with all my heart and I am so grateful for such a strong role model. Never ever reach a point in your life where you are not creating. This is when you are at your finest. With gratitude and all the love I have. Lyn-Shinny-Fryer.