My little sister is all grown up. Today, she’s 18 years old. It’s shocking really. She was such an ugly newborn, a bit premature and yellow about the gills. The first time I saw her, she was in a yellow dress. The jaundice, the dress and her red hair did not a pretty baby make, but the first time I held her, I was sold. Ever since, Miranda has been my favorite person on earth. My first car had a baby seat in the back and I took her everywhere. I wish I could still strap her in and take her with me. I miss her so much.
Miranda is the best my mother had to offer. She’s brilliant. She’s gorgeous. She’s wickedly cruel and hopelessly kind. She’s got a strong spirit. I’m hoping this spirit will help her when she’s living alone in a state far away from her family for the first time. She can also hit harder than anyone I know.
As she grew up, her dad made sure she liked bugs just as much as the “My Pretty Ponies” that seemed to multiply like tribbles. He would take her on nature walks in the backyard, turning over logs and big rocks to see what bugs lived where. He taught her how to live peacefully with insects and not run terrified from them; rollie polies living in harmony with Polly Pockets. She’d rather open a window than crush a bug.
Our mom died when she was 10, I was 25. Since then I’ve struggled to find the right role in our relationship. She needed to learn stuff a mom teaches you, yet I wasn’t her mom. I felt it was my responsibility, but she would have none of the mother stuff from me. Miranda helped me find the role that fits us both, her friend.
When she called and changed her spring break this year from a week doing sister stuff in Germany to a few days doing sister stuff and 4 days in Mallorca, with a school friend, I flipped out. I tried to get our brother to chaperone. Jeff just laughed. When I told him what people do in Mallorca, he stopped laughing. Our little sister was traveling alone, internationally, to a place where, according to my European friends, all you do is drink and get to know one another… biblically.
And what about all the white slavers? My sister is really a white slaver breeder’s dream. I know, I once read a ‘historical fiction’ novel about a redhead stolen to make redheaded babies. Her fine stranded liquid-maple-in-autumn-colored hair is halfway down her back. She’s tall, long legged and stacked. She is simply stunning. And she has no idea.
I researched Mallorca and found that very few people lose more than sleep on that island of sin. I didn’t have to worry about serial killers and sex slave traders. I had to worry about buckets of sangria and gorgeous, charming Spanish men.
At the same time, I made sure she knew how the god of irony, Ironus, will get you laid if you go out wearing the ugliest panties you own and unshaved legs. She should know these things. Then I bought her pretty panties and made sure she had a razor.
I’m old enough to know how truly terrifying the world is and I’m young enough to remember how I couldn’t wait to take it on. But I barely managed to survive.
I hope she has fun, but not to the extent our brother and I did. I hope she can sense the line between fun and horror before she steps over it. I hope she has more self-control. I hope she feels better about herself. I hope she has confidence and stands up for herself when needed. I hope she doesn’t have as much worthless sex. I hope she doesn’t do as many drugs. I hope she graduates. I hope she realizes she really is the best of us.
When Miranda was about three years old, she wanted to be Super Girl. My mom made her a cape she could wear around the house. The moment my mom finished, she put it on, wearing not a stitch more than her flowery panties and cape. As the rest of us were talking and laughing she climbed up onto the kitchen counter and jumped off. My mother, her dad, our brothers and I – we all suffered fear induced paralysis as she hit the ground.
Her little face beet red and the long silent inhalation of breath made us think she was hurt. Never has a little girl been so loved as all of us jumped up to try to help her. She would have none of it. She picked herself up. Her blue eyes squinted in accusation as she turned on our mother.
“It doesn’t work! Mom, you did it wrong!” she cried as she tore the cape from around her little neck and threw it on the ground. She continued screaming, totally inconsolable, unable to understand the aerodynamics of three year olds and counter tops.
The cape didn’t work, but the ability was never in the cape. It was in the girl. Regardless how she takes flight, she does fly. And I hope she knows she has always been Super Girl.