Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Importance of Being (an) Earnest

Some decades ago - almost three decades to be exact - I got an unusual gift.  I didn't really want the gift, and when I was asked whether I'd like it I didn't respond well.  I'm told that I objected to the gift.  I'm told, in fact, that I said I'd rather have a puppy.

The gift was a sibling.  And though I didn't know it at the time of the question, it turned out to be a sister.

As I'd been an only child up to this point, I really didn't have much experience with babies.  She was loud.  She was smelly.  She turned herself purple when she cried - which she did rather a lot. 

Over time, she got bigger and louder and, for a time, smellier as well.

We lived together for eleven years - give or take - and then my folks moved across the country.  I was in college when they moved, and seeing as I was very enamored of a young redhead who lived across town, I didn't feel particularly inclined to move with them.  So I stayed.  And they went.  And that, as they say, was that.

All of this brings me to a very important fact.  Although The Empire Strikes Back is viewed by many critics as the best of the Star Wars films, it has never been my favorite. 

Seeing Han Solo immersed in carbonite makes my skin crawl.  Now in large part, this is because the idea of being unpleasantly thrust into some form of suspended animation is just, well, creepy. 

And yet, for my perception of my sister, carbonite and California are synonymous.  It is as if she stopped aging the moment she got in the car and rode away with my parents.  She stayed locked in carbonite at age eleven. 

I don't know how many years passed between the day Solo was frozen and the day a Leia thawed him out.  But I do know that in the tender scene in Jabba's palace - Solo emerges from the carbonite temporarily blind but looking like he hasn't aged a day.  I like that.  It is comforting somehow. 

But that hasn't been my experience with my sister.  No, she has stubbornly refused to stay frozen in time.  In fact, she grew up.  She got considerably less smelly.  Although, truth be told, she never did get much quieter. 

In fact, in a sense she got much louder.  Because now, where there was once just one person - my sister - there are now three people.  My sister, a wife, and a mother.  Weird.  She went and got married.  And then she had the audacity to have children.  Several, in fact.  Including a set of twins and, most recently, a cute guy in a goofy hat

Now I understand that I may be old fashioned.  But I just don't think that an eleven year old should get married and have children.  And in my mind, she is still eleven.   Never mind the fact that it has been many years since she was eleven - that's irrelevant.  Seeing her with her husband and beautiful family is for me like trying to watch a television marathon of Bewitched.  You can't just switch Dick York for Dick Sargent without explanation.  It doesn't work.  Are we really not supposed to notice?  Because we do.  A lot.  They're two different people.



But that's my sister. One minute she's York and the next she's Sargent. Both are cool, I guess.

And that's why I made her a scarf this year for Christmas.  It is a nifty drop-stitch pattern that I found online, and I knit it up in some seriously soft alpaca. 

I don't know what an eleven-year-old will do with such a scarf.  Hopefully she won't lose it on the playground at school. 



  1. It's a beautiful scarf. And that scene with Han Solo haunted my 8 year old dreams...

  2. I know what you mean| I'm always startled to realize that my baby brother is a grandfather! How did that happen? :)samm

  3. You're right, when you're separated from people, time just stops in your head.
    When I was 7 my parents and I moved to another country. My aunt, who didn't move with us, was pregnant at the time. In the 20 years that had passed since, I've only seen my cousin twice, and in my head he's two completely different people. A cute little boy who jumps in puddles, and a 17-year-old who likes zombie movies. Next time I see him, I'll get to meet an entirely new person again. It's kinda cool in a way.