Monday, May 17, 2010
It's hard being the big sister; happy birthday Gina, who acts like one
Gina is my little sister who acts more like a big sister to me, which, I like. She's kind of bossy, again, which I like, because then I'm not the only one. It's like she helps me carry on that nerdy, bossy older-sister who has to go first kind of thing with me. I appreciate that. Because it's a heavy load! Being the first one of your family or friends to get married, have babies, well, it's hard. All the people close to you don't get it when you do it, but they're full of expectations and presents for help when they go through it, and then you have to be the bigger person and not think, "Well, I've had five babies and never registered for anything, and you never acknowledged those births, but I'll go ahead and buy you that expensive baby outfit they'll grow out of in five minutes, because you'll learn. . .(and having a baby IS exciting!)" I can be condescending in my mind, but I'm working on that. My point: It's hard being the big sister in a family and IN LIFE.
Gina has been close on my heels in many ways. Remember when she announced her engagement to everyone at my wedding reception? Oh yes, good times. Remember when, six months later at her wedding when I accidentally ripped off her veil when we were taking our family pictures? It was a lovely accident. It wasn't premeditated. We love each other.
Well, I love Gina for many reasons, but two important reasons are her belief that she can do anything and her weird, random compassion. I will illustrate these reasons by relating two stories that happened when Gina is at her best: marathoning.
1. When my brothers and sisters and I were running the half-marathon (Oh, have I mentioned that race before?) my little sister, Amanda, had a panic attack near mile 6 (Hi Pandy!) and Gina got right up into her face and yelled at her about how strong she was, and how she could do this, and how she wasn't going to leave her side until she finished this race! It was a loud, enthusiastic pep talk. When Amanda told her she needed to go ahead and shut up and then promptly put her earphones on, Gina, who could have smoked us all in that race, told Amanda that she wouldn't leave her side. And she didn't. And then she yelled to the crowd "Yell if you love bridges!" (and the crowd yelled in unison that yes, indeed, they DID love bridges) and "I can run this race because I EAT MOUNTAINS FOR BREAKFAST!" and, again, yes, she does live directly on a mountain so, technically, that is correct.
2. At the end of the marathon, while I was carb loading on Gogurts, oreos, and bagels (reason enough for running anywhere), we momentarily lost Gina and found her crying with her arm around a total stranger. Because of a huge storm that started immediately after we crossed the finish line (maybe you've seen the flooding in Nashville recently, yeah. . .), those runners who wouldn't finish the full marathon in 4 1/2 hours were detoured to the 1/2 marathon course, so they, because of safety reasons, didn't get to finish the marathon. This woman was crushed because she didn't get to finish what she had come here to do and trained for months to do and Gina not only saw what was happening, but went over to this woman and comforted her. This stranger cried on her shoulder, literally, as Gina cried with her, lamenting "And you trained all this time! And you didn't get to finish! I'm so sorry! This is awful! I feel so bad for you! I'm so sorry!" Amanda, Chris, James and I felt a little uncomfortable when we discovered her because it seemed that we were intruding on this personal moment. But the woman was so appreciative of Gina, and Gina was so generous and honest in her emotional output that it was really, quite weird and beautiful. Just like Gina!