Today my twin sister and I celebrate our birthday. Eight minutes before me she’ll be 34. Yep, for eight minutes she lived in this world without me—eight lonely minutes, I’m sure.
Becky and I are definitely close. Nine months of cramped living space must have bonded us together. Or maybe it was 18 years of always having the other close by. What a special treasure I was given in my sister Becky. So much of childhood was the two of us together. We shared a room until about kindergarten, when she kicked me out (as when I booted her out of the womb). She got a Strawberry Shortcake bedroom set, and I moved into our older brothers’ lair.
Becky and I played together constantly. Sometimes we played with my collection of Hot Wheels, some of which Dad would dig up from the backyard decades later. Other times we played with her Barbies. Yes, I admit I played with Barbies. Cindy thinks that my having played with dolls has made me a more sensitive father. I think it’s made me a better dresser. Indeed, I can match my own clothes (most of the time) and if I put in enough goop, I can achieve Ken’s plastic hair look.
Sometime around junior high, after Hot Wheels and Barbies, we drifted apart. I guess it was to be expected. So much changes at thirteen. But thankfully in high school we resumed our friendship. I’d wake her up ten minutes before we had to leave for school, and she would put a little makeup on in the car. We shared Otis Spunkmeyer muffins on the way. I always bought them. Seems like I was always paying. Of course, there were times I forgot about her.
Often, we joined the Kofa High School lunch crowd at Chile Pepper—the best place for quick Mexican food in Yuma. I would stand in the long line to order (think King’s Island or Cedar Point in the summer), while she would wait at a table with friends. At least once, I forgot her burrito or quesadilla or whatever it was she wanted.
I like to think I haven’t let her down as much as I probably have. I didn’t always. There was the time I drove after midnight to the Mexican border to change her flat tire. (She’d gone to a club in San Luis.) And there were the times a boy approached she didn’t like and she’d grab my arm and I’d pretend to be her boyfriend. But then when she went through some difficult times I was hardly around. Busy with my family and career, I guess.
Sometimes I wish we could just go back to those easy childhood days, when our lives were the fantasies of the Hot Wheels cities we built and the imagined goings-on of Ken and his perpetually heeled women. I wish we weren’t 2,200 miles apart, that we could go to a spring training game like we did several years ago, that we could go hit some tennis balls around, that we could dance to Psalty and his Kids Praise troupe like when did when we were five, that we could make a pitcher of Kool-Aid and munch on Otis Spunkmeyer muffins. She always liked the chocolate-chocolate chip ones. I liked banana nut.
Happy birthday, Becky.
This is your card, by the way. I searched but couldn’t find a good one. Instead, here are 600 words of my own, telling you (and the entire world) how much I love you and appreciate having always had a friend to accompany me through the early years of life. Here’s to 34 more!