Thursday, October 20, 2011

And Then There Was Two....

            Thirty three years ago today, my life took his first major change. My little sister, Mary was born. I remember it very clearly. First of al,l I was irritated that I had to go to school. I figured the birth of one’s baby sis counts as some sort of snow day. My parents disagreed. So I had to tough it out at Westside Elementary.
 It was the longest day of my fifth grade career. All day long, I’d try to focus on my lessons but all I could do was daydream about whether I’d have a little brother or sister waiting for me when the 3 o’ clock bell rang. I tore out of Mrs. Klein’s classroom as fast as I could all the while avoiding hall monitors who’d try to slow me down. I finally wove my way outside to the line where kids go picked up at and saw my grandparents’ Ford LTD.
Over the years, I have made a point to remember certain details about special moments in my life and fortunately my 10 year old memory knew to hold on to this one. Grandma and Pop got out of their land cruiser with a big smile on their faces. My arms were spread out wide in a hurry up sort of motion and I said words that have never left me,
” Well, what do I got?” Pop began laughing in his famous low country chortle. Grandma, on the other hand, never lost composure.
 “Robby, you have a lovely little sister.”
A little sister, I thought. Well, I can deal with that. And off to Abraham Baldwin Hospital we went to finally meet.
This was taken the Sunday following Mary's birth. It's our first picture together.
I hate to admit this but my first glimpse of Mary was a tad underwhelming. In reflection this is probably the beginning of my long held notion that babies are boring. I can remember how proud I was to be a big brother as I looked at that tiny little thing wrapped in a pink blanket. There was also this really fat baby in the crib next to her named Carnegie. He was over 12 pounds. As I stood there, I stared intently at my new little sister and waited for something to happen. Nothing. As we walked off to go check in on Mom, I recall thinking that I hope that things pick up because this was boring as hell.
This has always been my favorite pic of us together. Even at 9 mos, Mary had that devilish smile we all recognize.

Be careful what you wish for. Mary, did indeed, get more interesting. Mary was my permanent sidekick when we were kids and soon became my partner in crime as we entered our young adult years. Sure, we had some knock down drag out fights from time to time along with some quarrels of amazing proportion. When it’s all said and done, she was always by my side. I never really understood just what it meant for someone to have my back until Mary came along. I know many amazing, gifted, and talented people in my life but Mary will always be my favorite person.
Christmas 1983

             Sometimes I hate the fact she lives up in Connecuit with her awesome fiancée, Christine.
Then I remind myself that she has now a grown woman with her own life and responsibilities. Mom
and I often comment on cool it is that Mary has followed in Dad’s footsteps as a librarian. Sometimes
I even catch myself drifting off  when she goes on about some library details and I have to laugh
because it’s just like listening to our father go on. Then I think of the horror of what would it be like if
Dad was still alive and the two of them going on and on about libraries over dinner. I laugh silently to

I miss my sister on a daily basis. Even though we always joke about the dangers of the both of us living in the same zip code, I dream about it often.
It might be many years from now as I picture Kim, the kids, and myself having everyone over for a dinner. Aunt Mary and her lovely wife, Christine shows up only to be whisked away by Veronica who loves to confide in her two much-cooler-than-us-aunts. Mom and Stuart show up a little late but in plenty of time to sit down as the hilarity begins with the usual quips from me and Mary. This goes on until we go too far which is about the time Mom drop s the hammer on me to behave. Amazing how a 40ish something man can be still be intimidated by a 5’3” woman with a cane.
After dinner, the kids take off to destroy the evil Empire with a little Lego Star Wars action while Mom and Stuart hit the road before it gets too late. This leaves the Christine and Kim left to have to endure Mary and I while we go on about this, that, and the other along with  throwing out so many inside jokes that we should come with our own index. Glasses are emptied and filled while the conversation runs deep. Mary and I have always loved discussion in depth topics philosophical or historical and now we are joined by our lovely spouses who are both two smart cookies in their own right.
The evening wraps up and I have my arm around Kim as we watch the other two Richardson drive off to their very nearby home. Dishes are to be done and passed out kids must be put bed. End daydream.
What do I got? An amazing sister who I am very lucky to have not just as a sibling but also a friend. Happy Birthday, Roo. I love and miss you very much.
You can dress 'em up, ........

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