Dear Dad: Vol. 1

Dear Dad,

I know we didn't get to hang out a whole lot the past 36 years I have been around, so I thought I would start a regular installment of letters to catch you up!

My first letter just had to be about my sister, Lisa. Oh man she has been such a great sister. When my mom was a single mom adjusting to caring for us she really stepped up and filled the gaps of caring for me instinctively. I wish you could have seen it, you would have been so proud of her!

She read me books at a time I was so little I only knew how to drool and eat. My boys have to be PAID to do this for my little girl. And even then they usually refuse. She corrected my language, taught me to coordinate clothing (I didn't pick up on that one too well), and even broke up with my very first boyfriend for me because I was too worried about hurting his feelings (our voices sound very much alike on the phone).

Once we had a not-so-good neighbor who lived in the apartment above ours. She stole things from the grocery store and gave them to us. We didn't know the lip gloss and Smurf coloring books were stolen, but once Lisa found out she felt really bad about it. Mom was at work and Lisa had no choice but to take me with her in the covert return-hot-items operation. We wore sunglasses and walked casually around the make-up department and dropped the merchandise between shelves of Wet N' Wild nail polish and lip stick products.

She is so brave! I watched her fall in love with dance and perform on a stage for years. I wished I could remember routines and do as well as her. It was definitely a talent she enjoyed a lot and even got to be a Pom Pom girl in Junior High. She ruled her advance dance class and rocked at teaching kids at a dance studio when she was in High School.

I was first chair in flute when I learned how to play in 6th grade because she offered to spend time teaching me how to play the week before school started! I had such an advantage over all those other suckers. For the first time I felt so happy at being the best at something.

She always knew how to put on make-up and wear fashionable clothing; she hung out with all the cool kids. She always had a boyfriend and they were always the cutest boys in her grade. She listened to college radio before it was even called 'alternative' and encouraged me always to follow what I liked, not what the crowd was doing. I wasn't a dancer, but a runner (I am not coordinated at all!) and she told me to keep doing it because it was important to be part of something active. She always had good advice, trained me to use good come-backs if someone was mean, and made it clear if I was embarrassing (social norms are important).

She always got A's, rarely anything less. School was a happy place for her to be and she learns quickly and easily. She has amazing organizational skills and a sharp memory. I am opposite of her that way, I admire that about her. When we watched reruns of I Love Lucy we always laughed that I was Lucy; she was Ethel figuring things out and fixing problems. I always could make her laugh, though, and that was my favorite part of being her little sister.

She is more sensitive and delicate. I am a bull in a china shop. She is an amazing mother who had been given a heavy load. I have always admired her way of working hard to press for the unique things Lindsey has needed over the years.

She played Monopoly with me all the time (probably more than she wanted to) and let me hang out in her room while she listened to her latest music obsession (examples: The Monkees, Michael Jackson, WHAM!/ George Michael, Mariah Carey, Pearl Jam). When I was too young to drive, she let me hang out with her and her friends because she knew getting out of the house was important.

While growing up she always kept an eye out for me to protect or help me like a parent. No one asked her to, she just did. I hope my boys can be like that for each other and their little sister.

I watched her my whole life to figure things out big and small. She was and still is a great big sister.  I am so glad I got to look up to her all my life. She made my world less stressful as I grew.

We always wondered about you, together, and would look for your name in the yellow pages at the library for years. I am glad we are corresponding and hope this letter makes you smile.