Thirty years ago, on July 18, 1979, my status as an only child changed forever. A little seven-pound baby sister named Erin arrived. I quickly decided that I no longer liked my name and changed it to "Karen" in order to rhyme with my sister’s name.
My expectations of an immediate playmate were dashed when I realized that she could not write her name at six weeks of age. But Erin more than made up for that in the years that followed by agreeing to be my permanent student each time I announced, "Let’s play school; I’ll be the teacher." Ultimately, I would be the one learning from her.
Growing up, we didn’t share many traits or tastes or anything for that matter. I was always too concerned that Erin would break something as she always seemed to know how to take things apart, even things that weren’t meant to come apart. What I didn’t recognize then was that she was developing a skill, one that would allow her to later teach Mom and me how to use different electronics and to set up anything that is mechanical or technical.
When Erin learned to write, she started inventing recipes and memorializing them on my mother's spare recipe cards. For example, "2 fish, 1 Jiff, bake 10, get out." I don't know that she ever tried to make that protein-packed dish, but I do know that her recipes have come a long way since then. She now makes up recipes that are worth tasting and has a knack for knowing what ingredients to substitute in old, tried-and-true recipes to give them a new taste.
We didn't exactly get along well when we were growing up. We seemed to be complete opposites and couldn't find any common ground. But once I went to college, things changed. It was as if we both raised a white flag and decided to become friends. And since we've been friends, I've learned so much about what a big heart she has and how she goes above and beyond to help people. Even if it's just trying to get toll booth attendants to smile.
I couldn't ask for a better sister or friend. She puts her fear of flying aside to come for visits, she drives me all over this state and other states, she keeps me informed on current events, she prays for me, and she loves me with unconditional love. I'm glad I get to brag on here in honor of her 30th birthday.
So happy birthday, sweet Sister!