I, like pretty much everyone else in my family, completely forgot about my sister's birthday this year. (Not the Amsterdam one, the Albuquerque one) This is somewhat of a family trait of ours, one that i have been on the receiving end of as well, but it is still pretty crappy when it happens to you.
Anyway, I wanted to say a few words about Pu while I am thinking of her. Our relationship as young children was pretty tense. Per my mom, it all started when Pu was a baby and I toddled up to stoke her head while she was nursing- and pulled her hair! She and I are so close in age that sibling rivalry was at the utmost level through most of grade and middle school. We had epic fights that included pulling kitchen knives and throwing chairs at each other. Surely there were some good times in there too, somewhere...oh yeah, laughing at our father's bodily functions.
Pu did not have an easy youth. She was overweight for a period of time and endured a lot of teasing and bullying. She lost all that weight through rather unhealthy means and embarked on a long stretch of unhealthy behaviors through her teenage years. We hung about a bit in high school but she was always a bit "fast" for me, a bit more self-destructive. For many reasons.
I'm not sure what it was that tipped her off and made her change her mind about the way she was living her life and enter the military at 18 (19?). Even at her lowest points she always had a toughness about her, an inner strength that seemed to say "No matter what I do to myself, I will survive." The military seemed to be exactly what she needed to refocus that strength, that drive that was always there. And she has needed it and used it to become the amazing person she is today. The loving sister and mother and wife that can handle most anything life throws her way. That now pulls us to her instead of pushing us away.
My sister is very inspiring to me. Although she has come so far, there are always struggles to face. When I have my own adversity to deal with I often think of all the issues she's faced and it gives me the heart to bear down and motor through my own. So a very happy (belated) 23rd birthday (again) sis! I wish you many, many more.