Saturday, December 17, 2011

raison d'etre

"It's my birthday," I announced to my mother this morning.
"Oh, Happy Birthday," she exclaimed, her face brightening to mirror my own. Days and seasons have slipped from her memory but not her love of family.

The story of my birth has always delighted me.
I am the fifth and final child.
The sister that is two years older than I would have been the last child.
Unlike the previous three children, she was not an independent soul.
She cried when my father left for work because she hated to see him leave, and cried when he got home because she had missed him. She cried when the older children left for school.
"Maybe we should have another to keep her company," my kindly mother suggested.
That kind of solution could go on forever, my father had ruefully observed.
And so, it seems my raison d'etre, my sole reason for existence was to be my sister's companion.
As it turned out, I was an independent soul and played happily by myself.
And then as I grew older, I plagued my sister as only a younger sister can.
I did my share of tagging along and whining and even bit her once.
I'm pretty sure she's glad I was born though.
I know I am.
Happy Birthday to me.

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