And so it is that I miss being there for another milestone of a loved one ( the first being my father’s 60th birthday.) Today my little sister turns 16. My little sister, who promised me she would never grow up has gone and done it. She’s a real person, and now she has wheels to prove it. While the rest of the world I feel has silently been holding its breath for this glorious day to come, I find it hard to inhale the air that has allowed my dear sister to reach this day...to become one of us...to outgrow her childhood. And I cannot help to think where I might have been had you not entered this world, Claire.
I might have...
- Just gone for being a cool kid. Sure I was head cheerleader and joined just about every club imaginable, but you being born made me think about what was important...what I wanted to reflect on those younger than me, so I spread out. I was not just friends with the cool kids, I socialized and even (gasp) hung out with people outside of my race and social status because you made me realize that great people are not limited to high incomes, white skin, or my same ideals. I remember you getting pushed off the bleachers one day in elementary school for not wearing the cool color of the day, and you coming home saying that those girls were “just so immature.” How could I possibly ignore the fact that my little sister at the age of 7 was seeing through the facade that popularity and social nonsense brings?
- Not gone to Texas A&M. Now to anyone who really knows me, it isn’t like that was my total first choice. I wanted out of Texas...but that school taught me that being a good, moral person is the best way to get through this world. It provided me with friends that are irreplaceable, and a job that is very valuable. You helped me to realize the importance of family, and with a family of Aggies that we have.. I couldn’t not choose this great university. While I still cannot get over the city, the close minded attitudes of some and almost ignorant devotion that typical “Aggies” have... you made me realize this school had a lot to offer anyone, and if it was good enough for most of my family, it was great enough for me.
- Been a softball player . Eek. The day you were born I was playing softball (ok on defense, poorly on offense). I was switching between being a pitcher and catcher, and Grandma came to pick me up to tell me you had arrived. In the middle of the game I threw off all of my gear, grabbed my bag, and ran across the field to get to you. Had you not been there I might have adopted a love for Big League Chew, tight white pants and a sport that allows too much sitting.
- Not had the courage to come here. Claire- don’t let me knock the next decade of your life, it WILL be fabulous...but the thing is as you grow older, as there is less structure and formal landmarks to identify life accomplishments...you can start to feel a little lost. A bit loser-ish. Here I was at 25, with a great job living in Dallas...but I was a bit behind. I had yet to find a boyfriend let alone a husband, and I had yet to find a place I felt I belonged. During those nights when I was not just wallowing in my own self pity and doubt, I felt like if I didn’t do something with my life I might let you down...make you not look forward to the times ahead. So I went for it. You helped me get here. Had I not felt the need to be an example of someone who does things a bit differently (and randomly), I might have settled. Become complacent. And of all things, that is not something I want to show you is acceptable. There is too much great out there to settle for the good. I cannot promise greatness with each experience- London has already had its fair share of difficulties, but I can promise you the chance of it.
Claire - I don’t have a house that is my home, a man that loves me besides Dad, or children that are dumb enough to think I’m perfect...but I have you to live for. Ever since the day Mom and Dad took us to Ninfa’s and fought us tooth and nail not to name you Noel ( Lindsey and Laura thought it perfect since there are no other suitable names that start with an L ) I have been so happy that you entered my life.
I push on because I know I need to keep going for you. I reach for the stars because I don’t want to be a hypocrite when I tell you to do the same. I try to be a better person because I already see you avoiding the mistakes that I’ve made since 1985 and it makes me so happy.
Happy Birthday, Claire Elaine