I wore my little sister's shoes this weekend and they were cooler than my own
My little sister is nine years younger than I, and that has always been a big gap, until now. I was in my early teens when she was learning to finger paint, and at my high school graduation, all nine years of her, with peanut-butter smelling hair and baby-fat cheeks, gave me a big, squeezing hug around my waist.
Now, when I call home, a voice not so much younger than my own answers the phone. Sometimes I have to pause and decipher whether it is her or my mum. She moved on from her tomboy phase to embrace frilly, decaled mini skirts from Old Navy, even though she swore she’d never want to wear “girl stuff, blech.” She sleeps in much later than I do, even on a Sunday morning when I’m really, really trying. She asks if she can bring a friend along on our outings, which also require scheduling now because she does not just sit at home following my mum around on errands. She updates me on the celebrity gossip I miss out on, and calls me after America’s Next Top Model to discuss how skanky or how stupid one of the girls was.
She is nervous about whether or not she’ll seem dorky or lame in front of her friends and, more importantly, the boys she doesn’t want my brother and I to know about (but she’ll whisper it to me if I’m lucky). In conversation, she says things like, “This might sound stupid, but like…” indicative of that awkward self-esteem that teeters on peer acceptance. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I wondered whether the note I wrote in purple pen in science class to my friend was boring, stupid or somewhat cool.
If I look at my life in phases, she’s quickly catching up. She’s moved through trading cards and cartoon movies with an entertaining and giddy quality. She has had a boyfriend where the extent of the relationship means being allowed to play soccer with him and his friends at recess. She’s now in awkward teen phase, right before presumptuous academic phase in university. See? She’s gaining on me.
I’m excited to have her become closer in age experience. I like reviewing her course outline and telling her which teachers are funny and which are jerks. I like giving her advice that is still era-appropriate and therefore more readily accepted by her in all of her turquoise nail polish glory. I hope that she’ll gain the benefit of my experience (never, ever wear pale yellow flared polyester pants—they are not cool), while still learning her own lessons, dignity and confidence in tact.
She’s going to be one of my bridesmaids next year. Not a junior bridesmaid, but a bridesmaid. And if she keeps on growing up a half an inch each time I see her, there are some last-minute dress alterations in store.