1:18 PM, Aug 14, 2008
I remember a Wednesday afternoon on this day in 1985, Julia and Brian and I were watching Double Dare when Grandma picked up the phone and told us that we had a new little sister. Brian and I, being immature little punks, were genuinely upset that the new addition to the family was a sister instead of a brother. Julia did a little dance though.
The gender issues have worn off in the intervening years, which number twenty-three as of today. Rachel has had a much tougher go as this thing called life than anybody else in our family, myself included. I was nineteen when mom died, and it was a defining moment in my life. As heavy a blow as it was for me, Rachel was only twelve years old. She was still a child when she lost her mother, and only in the last couple of years has she really recovered from the blow the event was to her life.
I have more in common with Rachel than anyone else in my family. We made a lot of the same bad choices growing up, but she was always able to recover from her bad choices and learn from them more easily than I was. Whether it was because she had my example to use to her benefit, or because she was just more naturally resilient and adaptive, I don't know, though I lean toward the latter.
In 2006, Rachel was at a crossroads in her life, and I recognized it. I was worried about her, and the compounded nature of the problems that she was accumulating, so I had a serious discussion with her. Though I apparently still attract the ire and contempt of the family for it, I stand by my opinion to tell Rachel that she needed to get out of where she was and start over somewhere. I intentionally left the matter open-ended to her, and offered only one piece of advice regarding a possible place to move. She asked if I knew of any places that had good transit systems, so I said Portland, Oregon.
She moved to Portland later that year, and though it took her a while to sort out her life, I think she's done a remarkable job on her own in her new city. She's twenty three years old now.
Happy birthday Rachel!
Thank you.. maybe, I think? I'm not really sure. If this isn't crossing the line of too-much-information, it's definitely walking it.
2:32 PM, Aug 15, 2008