My sister and two cousins and I grew up like a brother and sisters. As youngest and oldest, Lindsay and I were the bookends of our sibling-cousin gang. She was my baby when we played house, she was my student when we played school and my employee when we played office because she and I just never understood playing dogs like Carin and Eric. As we grew older though, she moved into an older sister role for me. She was the first to fall in love, the first to get married, the first to have babies and always the first to find a great deal. After our grandma that is. She was the first of all of us to truly be comfortable in her own skin. She nurtured and advised me through all those things when it was my turn. And always with a hilarious pun, a calm, beautiful smile, and unwavering loyalty. I've rarely known someone who was so truly authentic and such a fierce advocate for the things and people she loved. When I suddenly had THE most life changing moment of my life, until now that is, she asked no questions, opened her storage unit of cleaned, organized, vacuum-packed things she knew I would need and arrived. Bearing wisdom and confidence, she promised me that I could handle it - that WE could handle it. She sat on my hospital bed rattling off a list of baby carriers and their pros and cons and where to find the best bargains. She was speaking another language and I was left in awe of her. And fear for how much I didn't know. I had counted on this pattern continuing until we were old, wrinkly ladies, eating cheesecake together.
In addition to Lindsay's famous deviled eggs, our cousin-sibling Thanksgiving after-party was the best part
of our Thanksgiving tradition. After the parents left we would pour ourselves some drinks and laugh for hours. One Thanksgiving Lindsay and I treated the group to what was in our heads a beautiful, heart-wrenching, The Voice-worthy rendition of Kenny Login's Celebrate Me Home. In reality, it was a screechy, buzzy, mess of giggles and yell singing (that Chris oh so patiently clapped through for us). I just want to always remember us singing our hearts out together in my living room.