My sister Debbie 2nd to last on the right
I consider myself quite the fortunate one in many ways, but I got especially lucky when my baby sister Debbie came into the world.
Debbie at a year old, I was two
If you currently do not have a baby sister, I suggest you go and find one.
Debs as I affectionately call her, was born one year and 10 days after me. I can’t say I remember the day she was brought home, but I know for certain I was happy. I had two older sisters who were taking good care of me, but I needed a playmate and Debs fit the bill. I know most brothers and sisters have a unique bond, however, what made ours different was the hostile environment we were raised in and how we supported one another . . . and still do. Having one another as an anchor has served us well throughout our lives.
As a toddler, I enjoyed dolls and cooktop toys more than baseballs and bats; Debs had no problem sharing. She was easy going and doughy eyed. I think the thumb sucking calmed her down. She was teased a lot for it, especially by our mom. That part still makes me angry.
Our elementary school classrooms were next to one another for several years. I witnessed her teacher verbally abusing her and I told my mom about it. My mother was a lot of things I did not appreciate, but she was fiercely protective of her children. She went down to the school and reported the teacher and had my sister’s classroom changed. I was proud of her for that.
We were so close growing up that people would mistake us for fraternal twins. As her older brother, it was my responsibility to keep the boys away. Debs never resented me for it; she knew I wanted the best for her. She was shy during her teenage years and sensitive about all things personal. I loved the way she looked up to me.
I was in a very bad car accident when I was 18 years old. When my mom brought me home from hospital, Debbie walked into the house, saw me and wept hysterically. I believe she was imagining what it might have been like if she’d lost me. I sometimes wake up in a bad state from nightmares where something terrible happens to her; I guess we have similar fears of loss. Allow me to stress the happy times.
When she met her husband Lynn, she struck gold. The guy (pictured with sunglasses below) is a gosh darned saint. Together they had two beautiful children: Nicole and James. They’ve been nurturing and loving parents and they have always included Uncle Chris in all of their kids’ milestones. Nicole now has twins, Stella and Ben, and it’s been a joy to watch them grow. As a gay single man, having a family that I consider my own, is a true gift. It’s been fun observing my sister with her grandchildren; she’s affectionate and sweet. And her best quality, she’s always laughing.
Debbie, Lynn and my nephew James are very close. James is a career officer in the Air Force. James is also a talented musician; I suspect this is where his passion lies. Being an uncle is a privileged position in a family. It allows you to experience all the good bits without the inner family drama. I love my sister and her family dearly; however, this is often drama. My guess is that all of the trials and tribulations and relationship dynamics, add up to a very deep bond. As an outsider, that’s the part I don’t get to be a part of. That reality has it’s upside.
One Beautiful Memory
Debbie had just given birth to Nicole. It was her first and the whole family was excited. I had returned home from University to meet my new niece. I walked into my mother’s house and Debbie handed Nicole to me without saying a word. She was only days old and wrapped in a snuggly blanket. I brought her into another room to privately marvel at her beauty. I thought, this magnificent child is a part of me and she will be until I die. I must have had some insight into the roles Nicole and James would play in my life; how family is the most important thing we have and how the intimacy of family is everything.
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Debbie and her husband Lynn came to see me in Portugal a few months ago; we had a blast. Appropriate “spicy” sign to her left.
Fort Lauderdale (Deerfield Beach) next week, then Nantes and Pornic, France, Liverpool, England, and Marseilles — Nantes and Pornic are happening on the same trip, over a four day period. Other holidays planned later in the year. Biggest trip of 2023 will be Dubai, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, and Hong Kong — end of October to mid-November.