Monday, August 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Sista-Friend!



30 years ago today my life changed in a most profound and important way. I was 13 months old when my mom brought home my baby sister and my memories of us have pretty much been a packaged-deal since then. So, in honor of Erin’s big 3-0 b-day I thought I’d share 30 memories I’ve had of her. I’d like to say they’re in a particular order, but my memory is NOT as keen as hers, so I’m sure she’ll (and the whole family) will be able to correct me and add some of their own vivid details to these thoughts:

1) Our attic bedroom. In the first house we lived in, Erin and I ended up sharing the attic as our bedroom. The house was old and the stairs creaked as you walked up the stairs, but we spent a lot of days completely wrecking that room with all our stuff. I remember having our toys from one end to the other. I also remember the two of us hovering over a bee trying to work up the courage to smash it. And, on hot nights, Mom had the two of us sleep in our undies without jammies so we wouldn’t be so sweaty (no air conditioning.)

2) Our red bedroom. When we moved to the house on Dennis we still shared a room (this time it was in the basement) and we still had mess issues. Most of the time we spent “cleaning” our room was actually “bickering” over whose mess was whose. One time, in frustration with each other, we lined our shoes up halfway across the room (with a pathway to the door) to distinguish “her side” from “my side.” [And FYI my girls have the same argument about EVERY time they are sent to clean their room! Karma!?]

3) When we had bunk beds, we would play around at night after bedtime and pretend we were falling off our beds into an ocean or some other unpleasant place. The ONLY thing that the other could do to save the other one is pull their entire body weight back up by one finger or one toe. Yes, as gross as it sounds, we’d pop the heck our of our joints in each toe, one-by-one, as we “saved” each other.

4) I also used to ask Erin if she wanted to sleep with me and we’d get our pillows and blankets all arranged just so and we’d fall asleep in one single bed . . . until sometime in the middle of the night when I’d kick Erin out of my bed and back into hers because I didn’t have enough space. One time, when I invited her, she made me promise I wouldn’t kick her out. And I promised. And then I kicked her out again in the middle of the night.

5) Erin had this “junk” drawer when we were little where she kept her, well, junk. [Not to be confused with my mom’s junk trunk J] Anyway, Erin would have the coolest things and I’d ask her where she got it and her answer would be her “junk drawer.” Pretty soon she’d be walking around with MY stuff and when I’d ask her “where’d you get that?” she’d just simply answer “My junk drawer” and that made it hers. We had many an argument over that until my parents intervened.

6) And speaking of arguing, I should clear my conscience with this memory. Erin always had good, strong, longer, sharp fingernails. If our arguing got a little physical, for a while, she took to digging her fingernails into the underside of my forearm, which left pretty good claw marks. Well, knowing she got in BIG trouble for that with our folks, I’d antagonize Erin to the point where she’d claw me out of frustration. I did feel a little bad about that the night she had to get all her fingernails trimmed short so she couldn’t dig into my skin anymore! Sorry.

7. [Here’s the drowning story, sorta] One day at swim lessons at the city pool, Erin drowned. She had been with her class jumping off the diving board and when she was supposed to be walking down to join her other classmates in the shallow end of the pool, she got cold. So midway from the deep to the shallow she jumped back in the water. Well, it was too deep, and she couldn’t get herself back up to the top of the water and poof! out of air = drowned sister. Erin and I had matching purple swimsuits with a big pink circle on the side, but one other girl also had that swimsuit. I remember SO vividly watching the lifeguards pull this swimsuit out of the pool (I was across the pool with my class) just telling myself that surely it was NOT Erin, but the other girl and at the same time searching for Erin’s class so I could validate that my sister was okay. It wasn’t until I saw my mom running in from the bathrooms to the group gathered around her body that I realized it WAS Erin. I just knew I could do something to help so I tried swimming over to all of them, but my teacher pulled me back and held me [even though I kicked him hard in the groin] the whole time I watched them do CPR on her, watched her cough up some water, heard the approaching ambulance wail into the parking lot, watched them put her on the gurney, load her, and drive her and my mom away. It was, without a doubt, one of the most helpless moments of my life. The family friend that took me to her house asked me if I wanted to pray for Erin, and it’s one of my first memories of kneeling down to pray for something in desperation. When I could go visit her, she had this cook ET light on her finger (the pulse-ox reader) and I remember shopping with my dad for a special nightgown for her while she recovered in the hospital.

8. Erin and I (and our neighborhood friends) would spend a lot of time playing “house” or “school” or whatever we fancied. I remember sitting at our little table and chairs discussing, like girls do, all the details of our pretend before we could actually pretend. We had to establish the facts first, like our names and our jobs and our husbands or boyfriends and whether or not we smoked or not.

9. Okay, this memory’s a little fuzzy cuz I can’t remember exactly WHY Erin wanted to run away, but I remember she fully packed her red Dworshak duffle bag and was running away from home. She worked it out with Megan and she was gonna stay in the Nelson’s shed/playhouse attic. The entire day we worked out the story because I was going to have to cover for her and then break the news to my parents. I remember admiring Erin’s courage for actually leaving. She was “gone” then entire day and my mom didn’t even know. Not because she didn’t care, but that was back in the day when kids played outside all day and since Erin decided to “move back home” by dinner, Mom found out when we gave out daily report of what we’d been up to.

10. One night, when Jerolyn spent the night, we were playing “rocket launcher” in the living room. We got in trouble because we sounded “like a herd of elephants” to my parents who were trying to watch TV in the basement.

11. Another memory of the city pool and Jerolyn is the afternoon we spent playing there laughing our little butts off as we’d come out of the water, hair plastered to our heads, moaning “Harr-Dee-Har-Har.” I remember asking Aunt Randy, when she picked us up, if she could hear us from the parking lot because we were laughing so much!

12. Another shenanigan with Jerolyn was the time we convinced Erin we were sticking cherry pits up our nose and pulling them back out of our ear. Well, that slight of hand trick took a turn for the worse when Erin jammed a pit so far up her nose, we could see it poking out up toward the bridge of her nose and she was crying because it hurt. After we couldn’t press it out or have her blow it out, we had to go get my mom and be scolded for playing a trick on her.

13. When 10 speeds were all the rage, my parents told us they’d go half-sies with us and Erin and I spent a summer mowing my grandma’s lawn. She’d do the front and I’d do the back or vice versa. We both ended up with maroon-ish red bikes, but I always liked hers better because my foam handle bars weren’t as cool as her black taped ones.

14. I remember loading the van to drive to Vegas and how devastated I felt. I was bawling because my BF Kara had gone to the store with her grandma and was going to come back when they were done, but we left before they made it back. I was totally bawling and Erin was fine. In fact, I think I remember her saying stuff like, “Why are you crying. It’s not that big of a deal.” Oh, I was so sad, but later that night, around St. George at 3 or 4 in the morning, we had a great time rolling down the windows in the Greeners car, letting the warm wind whip through the car. I am so grateful that I had Erin when we moved. The first couple years we had few friends, especially in the neighborhood, and we spent a lot of time together,

15. I do remember getting to sleep over at Melissa Perritte’s with Erin one time (I think I’ve been told it was because our parents were out of town.) Talk about a third wheel situation. I finally understood why Erin loved spending time with Melissa since we swam AND played Nintendo while we were there. Sharing friends was not our strong-suit at that point in our lives, and I could tell Erin was bugged that I was there. I remember, though, that she was really good about it.

16. Erin shaved her legs before me. I remember being totally JEALOUS.

17. One summer Erin and I were going to get to go stay with Megan in Burley ALL BY OURSELVES. Shortly before we left we found out she had to miss the trip to stay home and have a rod put into her back to help her scoliosis. I ended up still going up there and one night Megan and I went and saw “League of their Own” at the theater. By the end of the movie I was BAWLING at all the sister-ness. Knowing she was lying in the hospital bed while I was enjoying our vacation really made me feel bad and sad and anxious to get home.

18. Which brings me to my memories of Erin’s scoliosis. I could not have born the burden that my sister did in junior high. The whole time she was at K.O. Knudsen, she had to wear this brace with a neck/chin support and all the screws would tear holes in her clothes and tangle in the back of her hair. There were many times of tears for Erin during that time and I remember being so happy for her when she got to leave the brace at home for a day (only happened a couple times, I think, for pictures.) I probably can’t convey how strong she was at the time about the whole thing. I’ve admired her strength in dealing with hard (mostly physical) situations ever since then because I know there’s no way I could have endured what she has with the grace, not-complaining, and resolve that she has shown.

19. When she was in her brace and we would fight, we couldn’t be too physical with each other. Well, we could, but she was made of freakin’ steel and hard plastic, so I took to slapping her across the face when I’d get particularly frustrated with her. And then she’d chase me to hit me back. Once she locked me out of the house. I deserved it. I’d slapped her hard. I think I ended up at the Jensen’s calling her until she promised to let me in without severe retaliation.

20. Erin and I stayed home the summer I was learning to drive while my parents went to Idaho. Our van’s registration expired August 1st and I had to drive our VW bug or risk being pulled over. Poor Erin about died as I stalled that bug almost every time I had to stop at a light. Harmon was the worst for all the hills and the trouble that brought with stick shifts. I couldn’t even count the buckets of sweat we shed that week any time we had to go somewhere in that un-air-conditioned car as I was trying to get going and Erin was freaking out at the traffic building up around us.

21. Erin and I had separate rooms in Vegas, but we had daybeds with trundles and one time Erin made her two twin beds into this monstrous king-size bed. After seeing a mouse in my room, I slept with her for a month or so because I was too scared to be in my room. She finally had to take the bed down so I’d get back into my own room. The mouse incident was solved when we returned from Idaho (by ourselves) and Erin discovered the mouse dead and drowned in my parent’s toilet. (Fully bloated, BTW). I remember the hysterical phone call we made to our parents, who were still in Idaho, and my dad impatiently insisting that we flush the mouse down the toilet. We had visions of clogging, but that mouse went down just fine. Gross!

22. The Sprenz summer. One summer Kevin Sprenz moved in and Erin and I shared a room. And ended up spending a lot of time together since we got big-time grounded. I would wake up in the middle of the night to Erin talking on the cordless phone she had snuck into our room so she could talk to Kevin. (I think she was 13 at the time!) We actually got mail from our friends that summer since we were THAT grounded (from the phone and everything!)

23. Erin and I had to buy our own clothes and I remember being at Ross Dress-for-Less when I found THE COOLEST polyester shirt with bright stripes of fruit on it for $1.50. When I tracked Erin down amongst the racks of bargains and showed her the shirt, I still remember her turned up nose at the hideous-ness of the shirt and her reply of something like, “Of course it’s only $1.50 because nobody would actually wear that.” Well, I did buy it and love it and it was one thing Erin did NOT ever ask to borrow.

24. When Erin and I would get home from school and my parents were at work and the boys were still at school, we’d spend our hour or two together of “No one in, no one out” time watching TV and eating after-school snacks of cheetos, pudding, and Little Debbie snacks. I don’t ever remember doing our homework. I remember timing it so we still hung out at the Jensens or somewhere else, but rushing home so the boys wouldn’t tell on us for not being inside like we were supposed to be. I made Erin watch TJ Hooker.

25. The Church History Trip. There are really far too many memories on this three week excursion across the country. I’m glad, though, that at some of the most profound spiritual experiences that I have ever had, I shared with Erin. I do remember her sensitivity when my camera double exposed my pictures of Nauvoo and her insensitivity when I had a raging Migraine (that was Jer, too, BTW.)

26. Hawaii in 1995. SO fun with her and everyone else in choir. I remember, particularly, running down the stairwell with her during a fire alarm and waking up late for Pearl Harbor and having us roommates run out of the hotel to see the tail lights of the busses.

27. Erin and I almost died when the tire blew on our way to drop her off at BYU and we spun around on the freeway. I remember feeling it my responsibility to sit in the middle of her and the creepy tow-truck driver who pulled the Dodge Colt into Nephi. Okay, maybe she just plain refused to do it, so I had to sit by him, but I took it as my duty. And he ended up being really nice, even bringing us a big soda because he figured we’d be thirsty.

28. Swiss Days. Now, technically, that’s a bucket-load of good memories X’s the 4 years I have been, but it only gets better and I can’t share half of the things we have talked about. Here’s a smattering: Talk Sex with Sue, stall foot-tapping techniques, threesomes in the master bedroom, IKEA stock ups, nachos on tennis shoes, and sooo much more!

29. Mom moments. I can’t really list every moment we’ve shared in our current phase of mom-hood, but I will just say that Erin has been an inspiration EVERY step of my way as a mom. I remember, vividly, lying in my bed when she called one spring morning to tell me she was pregnant and expecting in January 1999. I was so torn between excitement for her and jealousy of her [I really wanted to get pregnant, but the timing for us was NOT good that spring.] It was the first defining experience that she would be doing first and it was such a role reversal for me. HOWEVER, I couldn’t think of a better time for it to happen. Erin has blazed the mom-trail, albeit only by 5 months ahead of me, with the style and determination. She’s been so supportive and helpful and I really am grateful that she not only raises her 4 kids so well, but has such an important role in raising my 5.

30. There have been a few times when Erin and I have been in the temple together for various reasons. The night before I had Briggs, we were at the temple and I had the distinct impression that the good feelings I was having that night were just a taste of what realizing our earthly quest for eternal families would be like. I am grateful that I have the chance to be with her for forever. I can’t imagine not having my best friend, playmate, confidant, psychiatrist, and sister with me for all eternity. There are many memories of Erin helping me work my moral compass and inspiring me to be better, and for that (AND ALL THE MILLIONS MORE MEMORIES) I want to thank her!

Love ya, Sis!

17 comments:

Troy and Nancee said...

I forgot that you and Erin were so close. Whole new respect for your mom. I guess fertility runs in your family. (: Happy Birthday Erin!!

Donna said...

What a fun thing to do for your sister. I'm impressed with your excellent memory... I'll have to start writing my memories of my sister down since she turns 30 next March. Happy Birthday, Erin!

Portrait Art by Angela said...

I LOVED reading all these memories you have with Erin. She is such an awesome person and I feel SO blessed to count her as one of my bestest friends. I'm also glad that through her I was able to get to know you better. Thanks for posting your memories. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Erin!

Angela said...

Sorry, above comment was posted from the wrong account but still HAPPY BIRTHDAY Erin!

Marylin and Jimmy said...

Happy Birthday Erin! And oh man the Hawaii memory makes me laugh because the day of the fire in the hotel, yeah we got left in the building because we were a few floors above everyone else and they forgot to come tell us to get out so we were looking over the balcony at everyone wondering what was going on! :) Oh and Pearl Harbor, did you guys get a different ride there or did you miss it totally?

Jerolyn said...

K'
#3 is disturbing!
#7 made me cry
#8 made me laugh
#11 and 12 made me cry laughing
#16 very funny
#20 also very funny
#25 Sorry we told you to get over yourself when you had the bad migrain and all!
#30 Crying again~~~

AWESOME POST...I loved it, and I love Erin, and I love you!

chris jenkins said...

so so sweet:)

annilee said...

Awww what a nice tribute! You guys are both wonderful people!!!

Stac said...

Nice post. Happy Birthday Erin!!

Beth said...

My joy cup is running over! And, so are my eyes.

Erin said...

***WARNING...Long comment ahead***

Okay. You're way too sweet. As you always have been to me. So sweet, in fact, that you left out a lot of the bratty little parts of those memories that wouldn't have portrayed me in the best light. You had me totally laughing, then welling, then crying, then laughing some more. I love you too, and am glad that I don't know life without you in it!!!

And now...I've got a few comments on your memories too:
1. Great memories of our attic bedroom. Don't remember sleeping in our skivvies, but I do remember yelling "Come cover us up!!!" in unison to get mom/dad to tuck us in. And I remember us getting totally busted for having light brite pegs ALL OVER the place about 3 hours after were supposed to have been 'cleaning'.

2. I remember dividing our room in half, but don't remember we did it with our shoes. But I DO remember it was a bit of a dilemma figuring out how 1 of us would get OUT of the room without coming onto the other's territory.

3. Totally funny. No idea where we got the popping toes from OR why we did it. Again and again.

4. I do remember cramming into the same bed (with all our Cabbage Patch dolls that each had very specific names) and being so squished from lack of space (the dolls took up a lot of room on a twin bed) and one of us telling the other (don't remember which) we had stinky breath. I guess that's the definition of being a little too squished.

5. Oh...the junk drawer. Don't have much to say about that. Not my most shining moments...sorry!

6. I don't even remember getting my fingernails clipped, but I do remember thinking 'what other retaliation to I have to slapping and pulling hair?'

7. I never remembered what swimsuits we had that day in the Burley pool. But by your account, I can see why you would remember specifically what they looked like. And I never knew Becky Matthews prayed with you. That made me cry for sure. Thanks for the prayers. I know they were heard that day.

8. This made me laugh. And in addition to determining whether or not we smoked (how dumb were we?!) we also decided if we had glasses or braces too. We were weird.

9. I never remembered this running away saga until you wrote this. Funny. But I know you AND I planned a running away scheme together but we were just going to hide out in the corner of the backyard behind the giant rhubarb plants. But then it was too cold that morning so the mission was aborted.

10. Love the rocket launcher. Surprised none of us broke our tailbones in the process.

11. Harr-Dee-Har-Har in the Burley Pool...makes me think of "My name is Madisssson" weirdo dude and coming out of water with snot hanging from the nose. Sarah & Jer will be the only ones to get that.

12. Yeah, the cherry pit hurt. 'Nuff said. Don't try that at home.

13. Don't be jealous of the black tape handlebars. Once we moved to Vegas the heat made the tape come unwrapped. We WERE rockin', though, on our ten-speeds. Even the Mofford's dog thought we were both pretty hot...enough to bite.

14. Yeah, I was clueless about leaving friends and moving and what all that meant. I thought you & mom were nuts for crying...I was thinking 'Cool! We're going on a road trip!' But riding in Greener's VW Rabbit was fun.

15. Yes, Melissa's house was the BEST place to sleep over. And sorry for being selfish with my friend. I'm sure we all had fun anyway...right?

16. You were probably only a day or two behind me on this one. But I think I was only in 5th grade when shaving the legs started. I figured I'd give it a shot & Mom didn't really care. So I ran with it!

17. Total bummer that summer about not getting to go stay at Nelsons (another total party house that was F-U-N to stay at). The hospital just didn't compare. I was just glad you brought Jerolyn back home with you that summer!

18. You're nice for saying such nice things about the scoliosis, since I'm pretty confident that 'graceful' isn't exactly how I've handled the whole bit. I'm sure it wasn't easy going around as 'robocop's sister' either.

19. I have a vague recollection of locking you out. That was gutsy of me, I have to say. I usually just resorted to sitting on you so the hard plastic cut into your lap. I know. That wasn't nice either.

20. Oh my gosh, stalling the bug was nothing compared to you stalling the VW Golf when you had to drive that. I just got used to sinking lower & lower into the seat!:-)

21. I'm just glad you were there to do the actual flushing of the mouse...talk about an intense situation!!! I'm serious people, talk about disconcerting when you're running into the bathroom about to pee your pants and there's a freaking MOUSE--dead--floating in the toilet.

22. I'm defending myself here, because I'm pretty sure I was 14 that summer I was talking to Kevin on the phone ('cause that's so much older than 13). And you still have that mail we got from our friends that summer, don't you??? Be honest!!!

23. Ughhh...the sleeveless fruit shirt. I still wouldn't borrow it. Or your faux snakeskin pants. Sometimes good deals aren't all that good. But do you remember our shirts (1 turquoise, 1 hot pink) from Ross that said "I'm Fresh!" What were we thinking?!

24. It wasn't always TJ Hooker. Sometimes we watched Night Rider. Or Thoroughly Modern Millie. And we made lots of pudding.

25. Sorry about the lack of compassion with the headache thing. I totally understand now. I was a jerk big time. You're way better with my headaches when I have them.

26. Thanks for letting me be your roomie in Hawaii. And you failed to mention running down 22 flights of stairs and you didn't have your bra on. And I do remember you french braiding my hair (since we all had bed head from over-sleeping) on the city bus we caught to make it to Pearl Harbor, sweating bullets that we were sooooo gonna be in deep doo-doo with Mrs. B.

27. I think I flat-out refused to sit next to the tow truck driver, I was so freaked out. Thanks for saving me from that. And sorry for the rude awakening from your nap in the car that day.

28. High Five, girl. High Five. That's all I can say. Only 24 more days.

29. I am just as glad you've been there through every step of the mom stuff with me. I still remember you surprising me & showing up at the hospital after I had Sydney. Even though I gave birth first, I'll let you become a grandma first...how's that??? You can blaze that trail before me.

30. Ditto. To all of that. I've always been glad to have you by my side--and on the phone--through EVERYthing...and through eternity. You're wonderful with my kids and they are lucky to have you in their lives. I couldn't ask for a better BFF, and I love you with all my heart. Sniffle.

Beth said...

It's me again. After reading the post and Erin's response to it...all I can say is I always wanted a sister and this is why! I've always been SO glad Erin was a girl so you two would be close like this. I love you both!

Jessi McCall said...

hi sarah, this is SOOO sweet of you. I shed a few tears reading this. I think I'm gonna go call my sister and tell her I love her! ;)

Jessi McCall said...

your blog is really fun to read. hope you don't mind if I link you?

Stephen & Kellie said...

I loved that post!! I learned a few new things about Erin today - you have such an awesome sister. You definetly have me thinking about memories of my sister who also turns 30 at the end of the month.

julie said...

That is so cool and a very nice tribute to Erin. It reminds me of my sisters who are also 13 months apart and are so very, very close. What great memories!!!

Kourtney said...

That was a nice tribute to Erin and sisters in general. I hope Erin had a very Happy Birthday!