Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Kelly Jeanne




Today is my little sister’s birthday. She is officially forty-nine years old. She would kill me if she knew I was telling the world about her rapidly approaching entry into old age but I have no worries. Kelly announced months ago, she will never read this piece of crap blog again. If I recall, it had something to do with me being a big, fat, liar and a moron. We often call one another pet names like that. Anyway, just to set the record straight, anything I say on this blog about her, I would say to her face. In fact, most of the time if I have not already said it to her, I make sure to call and read the post to her if for no other reason, to annoy the holy snot out of her. Sisters are the best!




 
I have already told a story here and there about my youngest sister but today, in honor of her birthday, I want to tell the truth about how I really feel about her.




I remember when she was born, as if it were only forty-nine years ago. I was three and the idea of having a real, live baby doll to play with was better than Christmas to me. The first time I saw Kelly, she was lying on my parent’s bed. I crawled up on the bed and laid down on my stomach so I could stare at her face. I remember kissing her over and over again, amazed at how delicious she smelled….like freshly baked sugar cookies.




A few years later, we had become the best of friends. My whole world consisted of Kelly. She was the one I wanted to play with, swim with, eat and sleep with. We shared a room with twin beds but many a night we would crawl into one bed and play word games. Our giggling would eventually bring our father down the hall to announce, “You girls better go to sleep before you get into trouble.” Our poor parents had no idea how much trouble we would cause them in just a few short years. Oh yeah…..we were outlaws in the making. Bad news. A parent’s worst nightmare. Ok, not really, but we were kind of bad teenagers.






Once we made it to our teen years, things changed. Kelly was extremely popular. She had an outgoing personality and everybody loved her. It was easy to love her. She was cute and bubbly and the life of every party. I, on the other hand, was moody and brooding. I had friends but not like Kelly. I was unsure of myself, feeling insecure and ugly for most of my teen years. I avoided parties and instead, made some very poor choices getting myself into trouble on a regular basis. Kelly accepted that life was good and did well. I was constantly waiting for the ax to fall on my chicken head. Amazingly, Kelly thought I was cool and wanted nothing more than to hang out with me. I pushed her away, jealous of her ability to breeze through life while I felt every day was a struggle. We began to grow apart due to my ugliness towards her.



 
I married at eighteen and had a life altering encounter with God at nineteen. One of the first things I did was attempt to repair my relationship with Kelly. It wasn’t easy. We had grown apart and trust had been damaged. Through the years, we would grow closer and then fight like two monkeys on the same banana. I suppose you could definitely call it a love/hate relationship. We both seemed to love to hate each other.



 
Then, almost twelve years ago, Kelly was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was thought to be benign but later would be proven to be cancer. Over the last twelve years, the cancer has spread. She has had five brain surgeries, uncountable doses of radiation and chemo. She had a total hip replacement and another brain surgery just in the last two years. Kelly has gone through more than I could have ever imagined my baby sister would ever have to endure. It has been unbearable to watch at times. Yet, through it all, she fights. She fights to smile and live and laugh and go on. She has been trapped in her bed for the last few years and yet her lifelong friends still make the trip to spend weekends together. They lay in bed, eating and watching movies and laughing. Nothing has changed. Kelly is still the life of the party even if it is a smaller group and confined to her bedroom.





 

Kelly and I grew very close when her first brain tumor was discovered. I spent months at a time staying with her. This went on for years and our relationship grew and changed and was more than I could have ever hoped for. Until last year. Last year Kelly and I had a major disagreement over one of my children. She felt she was doing something helpful. I felt she was interfering. It went very bad very fast. We have not spoken much over the last year. When we have called one another, it has almost always ended in yelling and crying along with name calling. It’s like being teenagers all over again only this time we have everything to lose and no parents to stop the madness.



 
A few weeks ago, a truce was called. We have found a common enemy. Sisterhood is an amazing thing. I can tell you what a dill weed Kelly is and she can tell you what an ignorant moron I am, but God help the fool that tries to pit us against one another. Oh yeah…..it’s on!






So, all that to say, “Happy Birthday, Dill Weed. I love you like a younger, demented sister and I’m glad you are still here to drive me out of my freaking mind. I just wish you still smelled like freshly baked sugar cookies. I’m just saying…..”



35 comments:

Ms. Anthropy said...

Ah Marla, what kid sister wouldn't just love this post. Can't believe she doesn't read you. Happy Birthday Kelly! Love the pictures.

Two Shades of Pink said...

Marla, an incredibly transparent post. It made me laugh, filled me with compassion, sadness, and delight all at the same time. A true writer does that. The pictures of your history are just wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing this piece of your life.

Gucci Mama said...

Aren't sisters wonderful? And frustrating and endearing and annoying and about five million other things? This was a very sweet post; I hope your sister has a wonderful birthday.

Deborah said...

You have just described millions of sister relationships. Love this Marla.

Oklahoma Granny said...

Wonderful post. Happy Birthday wishes to your sister.

honeypiehorse said...

A tragically beautiful post

TechnoBabe said...

How lucky you are to have a sister. The photos are awesome. The story is somewhat sad but mostly full of love. Happy Birthday to your little sister Kelly.

Michelle said...

This reminded me of my relationship with my younger sister
so much. She is four years younger than me and was always so much cuter. I hated her for that. I was a mean older sister until we hit our twenties and I realized what a gift she is to me. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find common ground now that I am a believer and she isn't, but we try.

Nicole said...

What an amazing tribute to your relationship with Kelly. And to Kelly herself. I know how much she will cherish reading this, I'm sure she'll find something to be irritated about - but that's sisterhood right?!

PS - I sent her some yummy smelling lotions for her birthday - not sugar cookies, but still good!

Kelly said...

I know you thought I'd never read your blog again, but Nicole told me to read my birthday post for a pleasant surprise. And yes, I was. Thanks for the wonderful memories, a lasting gift, and being the sister you are ~ I'm just saying!

Sarah said...

Marla, you look just like your mom. Happy Birthday Kelly! You two are lucky to have each other as sister.

Lorenza said...

I can feel your unconditional love for your sister...no matter the past fights...I wish her a long life in happiness

Love & rainbow

Amarja said...

Love and miss you lots Marla! Hope things will be all right soon with Kelly. I wish I could come over and hug you :)
Love!

kbxmas said...

Beautiful post Marla. I wish your sister luck in her continued fight for her health.

Lynne Walker said...

This is really inspirational. Thanks for sharing it.

Tgoette said...

Great post Marla! I think Kelly would have to agree that this was well written and an accurate description of your history together. What a nice tribute for her birthday! Cute pics too! Way to go!

Mama Zen said...

Oh, Marla! This says it all about sisterhood.

Ocean Girl said...

Happy birthday and what a lovely tribute to your sister. The story is cute, the pictures fun and nostalgic at the same time. I enjoyed it. Thank you.

gayle said...

My daughters are the same way. I am so glad you and your sister are close again!!!

Coby said...

I just love this! I have a half sister and three half brothers, but we never lived under the same roof, and I grew up an only child. I ALWAYS wanted a sister! Fortunately, God blessed me with many "sisters in Christ."

You are very blessed!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Happy Birthday Kelly Jeanne! I hope she reads this post. It's fabulous!

Happy weekend,
jj

Unknown Mami said...

Happy Birthday to your sister! May you drive each other crazy for a long time to come.

thelumberjackswife said...

Happy Birthday to your sister! Hope she had a great day.
Sisters are something, aren't they?

Frau said...

Marla Happy Birthday to your lil Sis Kelly. What a honest and heartfelt tribute. I have 4 sisters it's great but their is always some drama.

Lola Sharp said...

You brought me to tears with this one, Marla.

Love the photos...she's adorable.
(I worked that Farrah hair style too.)

Happy birthday Kelly!

Auntie Cake said...

A very Happy Birthday to your sister, indeed! Nothing like sisters, is there? Best wished with her cancer too. And hope you are also feeling better soon. I have heard being stoned can be very painful. And great pic. My husband had a crush on you for a very long time!
Kate
PS- and thanks for all your sweet comments! You are the best!

Libbie said...

Oh Marla...I LOVE the honesty you always wear. I was moved so many different ways over the course of your post. I can tell you really have a special bond with her-a bond only a girl with sisters can understand.

Sisters...we love 'em so much...not always..but most of the time :) I can relate! :) Just ask Kate :)

THanks so much for sharing this with us Marla, I feel like I know you even better now! I hope her birthday was wonderful!!! And I hope you got her something good :)

Auntie Cake said...

Hi Marla,
Have the most wonderful spring weekend!
KAte

Mike said...

What a great story and great pictures to go with it. A tribute to your sister. My brother and I have a similar love/hate relationship as well. Thank god for alcohol...

ModernMom said...

This post should have come with a tissue warning. So sweet, so very typical of so many sisterly relationships. Hapy Birthday to your sister.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Oh my gosh, this is the best post I've read in a long time. I just love it! And I hope you already read this to your sister, although I think she should be reading your blog, This was such a great story, so moving and loving, and just....wow.

Here is one of my favorite funny lines: "I remember when she was born, as if it were only forty-nine years ago."

I loved this!

- Margaret

Kelly said...

Evidently some followers did not notice I had read your "tribute" way back on the 30th. Let me just add...for those who might not know it yet, most of your writing "genious" & wit is thanks to your sugar cookie smellin' lil sis. Well, OK, that may not be true, however, you must admit w/out ME you wouldn't have half your best stories ~ Brain tumors, stolen children, California Living, etc! Rock on Sister.

Jingle said...

Happy Belated Birthday!
lovely photo collections!

Janean said...

marla, what a well-written, interesting and wonderful story. i'm glad you were transparent. thank you for sharing it with us.

happy birthday to kelly, and in my humble opinion, i think BOTH of you are brave.

Matty said...

What a wonderful tribute to your sister. You two have a special bond that few share. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. Happy Birthday Kelly, and here's to another 50 or 60.