|Scott and I made these silly t-shirts for Kelly's party. On the front: "Haters gonna Hate." On the back was a picture of Kelly's teenage heartthrob Mario Lopez with the caption "Slater's Gonna Slate."
I'm the first born.
Naturally I covered a lot of ground before my little sister Kelly was born five years later.
By the time she came around I was reading, writing and I had captured my parents' hearts. (And I was obviously quite full of myself.)
I wanted a little sister pretty badly. But once she actually came to live with us, I wasn't a fan of this screaming little bundle...at least at first.
For five years, I had my parents all to myself and there didn't seem to be a problem with that. I was obviously a little spoiled and self-centered, but I was a "perfect angel". (Those are my dad's words, not mine.)
All of the sudden my peaceful little world was turned upside down. There were times when my mom's bedroom door was closed while she nursed baby Kelly. I remember just sitting outside that closed door and feeling completely sorry for myself. I wanted to play a game with Mommy darn it. Why didn't she want to play with me anymore?
The worst of it came when Kelly was a toddler and preschooler and little girl. Because she was absolutely the most adorable little girl EVER. And, I hated that. She had the biggest blue eyes with the longest eyelashes. Don't get me started on her adorable little dimple. Everyone noticed.
Around the same time I had the misfortune of getting the worst haircut ever and people constantly mistook me for a boy. So whenever we were out as a family, it was "the beautiful little girl and her nice older brother." That was the worst let me tell you.
And Kelly was a little ham too. She was so friendly and outgoing. Meanwhile, there was me, looking like a chubby boy, who was scared to death to raise her hand in school, let alone say hello to a stranger.
Those years were rough. Even though I was insanely jealous of my adorable little sister, I couldn't help but love her. Because she was crazy about me. She followed me around, constantly wanting me to play with her and do the same things that I did. She called me "Re-Re".
I can't describe what it felt like for someone to look up to me so blindly. Kelly seemed to love me unconditionally, and she forgave and forgot like no one I have ever known.
Over the years, of course we fought, but I'm sure the phases where I just plain ignored her hurt the most. All through middle school and high school, I didn't want much to do with my younger sister. And in college, I could have invited her to spend the weekend, but I was too selfish and immersed in college life. Kelly could have held all this against me, or at least been a little distant to me. But, that's not her way.
After college, when I finally decided family was most important, she wanted nothing more than to have me by her side. She invited me to her dorm room to hang out with her friends freshman year, and on her 21st birthday she was excited for me to come and go out with her. She has been my cheerleader all the years after--excited by every milestone. She was my maid of honor, my first-born's Godmother, and she was the first to seem truly happy for us about our move to Chicago.
I truly do not deserve such a selfless, caring sister.
So, this weekend I threw her a surprise 30th birthday party. Fifty people--family and friends--came to the party.
Kelly was shocked. And, when she saw me she started crying.
"I can't believe all these people came for me," Kelly whispered in my ear in disbelief.
She would never think that. That's just Kelly.