I woke up last Friday morning not expecting anything out of the ordinary. I surfed in teeny tiny waves, tidied the house, responded to e-mails, paid the bills and made a ginormous mess in the backyard while painting a small picture of a sandpiper for my mom’s birthday present before heading to my parent’s house in the evening for happy hour. Happy hour is a rather sacred hour of the day in my family, I guess you could say. When we are together on weekends and holidays and five o’clock rolls around we know exactly what to do and where to be with our beverage of choice in hand. We sit together and talk, often watching the sunset, always hoping to see the elusive green flash that only my mom has seen.
Kevin, my non-biological uncle came over, my mom opened a few small gifts and we sat talking. My friend Lisa, gave me the great idea of asking the birthday girl to mention her favorite memory from each decade of her life so far. For my mom, zero to ten was learning to ride a bike. Ten to twenty was sneaking out of her house as a teenager and meeting a girlfriend in the middle of the night to bike around the neighborhood in the Santa Ana winds. These stories made me happy we got my mom a new bike seat for her beach cruiser.
When I got up to go to the bathroom at one point, Scott seemed extra-inquisitive about my whereabouts (what the heckkk man, I have to pee!). A few minutes after I returned it was clear why- a surprise he had helped plan was on its way to our backyard all the way from NYC. Once I sat back down, she came running into the yard. Danielle. My little sister. My middle sister. And when I hugged her I had an odd flashback of me kissing her soft baby-haired head. I swear I could smell the way that little scalp used to smell and feel when I would kiss it (careful to stay away from that creepy soft spot).
When she first came into my life, I’m not so sure she was what I wanted. At three years old I was used to being the center of attention and I liked it that way, as you do at three. But now, as an adult, she is what I’ve always wanted. Along with my other sister Maddie, she is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received and here she was as a gift again.
We played with my dad’s remote control helicopter, which I crashed into a palm tree almost immediately, chopping some of the leaves with its tiny blades, celebrated my Mom, who can’t be celebrated enough, and surfed together. I’m so happy Danielle’s here all week.
The best gifts are the people in our lives.