When my older sister has birthdays, I’m not overwhelmed by thinking about her age. I’m close enough behind her that I kind of feel her age already, myself. No big problem. Sister number three is a little further behind me, and being the first of my younger sisters to hit each milestone after me, is the one who always makes me feel that little twinge: ‘I have a younger sister who’s that old!’
Baby sister eases into place after the rest of us without creating much ripple. The fact that the youngest sibling is approaching any notable mark is mitigated by three predecessors having beat her to it. Today, her birthday, she’ll do her little bit toward ‘catching up’ again, and yet, naturally, she will continue to remain younger than the rest of us. Once the youngest, always the youngest.
Part of me can’t help but subscribe to the cute and cuddly image held by youngest siblings. For one thing, she is beautiful. All three of my sisters are beautiful. Only one can be the youngest, of course, so I can’t help it entirely if the picture in my mind of my baby sister keeps looking quite a bit like she did as a small child. That adorable infant thing, once seen, is hard to undo. Both little sisters, as a result, are at times in my mind the human equivalent of kittens or puppies or fawns, despite having grown up into fantastic women with real lives and real families of their own.
I have nothing against aging, either mine or my sisters’. As long as we get to do it for a good, long time, and my sisters are doing it wonderfully well so far. I might think of them, the youngest especially, with the soft-filter glow of nostalgic youth painting them into charming little toddlers all over again, but only in light of knowing that they continue to grow more wonderful and marvelous with their actual progress through the years.
I can say as a dandy postscript to this bit of nostalgia that my baby sister is getting some suitable attentions during her birthday celebrations, which began just a little bit early this year. Her youngest, our nephew Christoffer, is in the previously mentioned punk rock band Honningbarna, and they opened for Aerosmith and Alice Cooper last night. My sister and niece got to watch from very near the stage (yay, earplugs!), and when our nephew came off the stage to give his mom a birthday kiss, the crowd responded with all appropriate enthusiasm. Not bad birthday entertainment for a lady who is doing her best to catch up with my advancing age!