Does that just suck or what? I’m not entirely sure how my sister copes with it, though I guess she’s got no real choice over the matter, but having to celebrate a birthday on the anniversary of a tragedy makes you wonder. How will all those children born on September 11, 2001 handle it, or perhaps January 28, 1986 or December 7, 1941? Life goes on, though we’ll always remember (more to the point, the media will never let us forget even if we do). Point is, I always felt a little bad for those coincidences, in the same vein that I think it absolutely sucks ass to have been born within 14 days of Christmas. How many kids get jacked out of separate presents every year? My old friend Ken’s birthday is on the 22nd of December, and he used to tell me all about growing up with “combined” gifts every year. Not that he was a materialistic type of person, it was just one of those gripes you sometimes hear from friends. I thought about it and I decided after that that I would try my best to make sure that people that I knew well enough to buy gifts for, whom also happened to be stuck with a birthday near Christmas, would get a separate gift. In Ken’s case, I loved to go out of my way to make sure he had a separate birthday party. By the way, Ken celebrates his twenty-ninth birthday every year.

My sister Anna’s birthday is today and we have kind of an unusual relationship. We happen to really like each other. I can’t really say that about my other sisters. Tina lives in Germany with her husband and I hardly see her anymore, let alone correspondence, even in the age of the Internet… no matter how many times I write or give her my email address. After a while, you just let it go. Susie, the youngest of the three older sisters, is still something of an enigma to me. We have never been close, and we don’t talk at all. In fact, I don’t think I’ve spoken with her in over seven years, but I do hear about her from time to time. Danyel, my youngest sister, is next closest to me. We grew up together when the older three move out and began living their lives outside of my dad’s house. Danyel lives in east Texas with her husband and three kids, and I only talk to her when it’s convenient to her and/or she needs something from me. After a while, you kind of resent or get annoyed at her, but I’m unable to really hang up or ignore her or any of them for that matter. Despite their faults, they’re still family, and I’ve always tried my best to be as steadfast to those ideals as possible. I’ve faltered from time to time, enjoying a few selfish periods, but for the most part, I’ve tried my best to be there.

Anna’s different, though. She reminds me so much of our father, it’s not funny. Same sense of humor, same stubborn streak, same temper. I like spending time with her because beyond my parents, she’s the only other person who actually accepts me for who I am and listens without judgement or reservation. Which is to say, that she can listen without trying to solve my problems. Sometimes, I don’t need anyone to solve anything for me, but listening to a rant or a rave is a good quality to have and she taught me that at an early age. Every time that I’ve needed support, she’s been there for me. Likewise, I’ve tried to be there for her, too, but sometimes I’ve not been able to do it. Last month, she up and moved herself to Wyoming to live with her current boyfriend, having found no job in the Bay Area and also having to look after my nephew Tim. He offered her a place to live and a new life with him, so she decided that was the best move for her to take right now. My parents both expressed their misgivings about her decision, but I know she’ll be allright. Even though I don’t really have her nearby anymore, and I miss her like crazy, she’ll be fine.

So, here’s to a very happy thirty-sixth birthday, Anna. You’re still my favorite sister.