How needing to pee led to brilliance.
Or, why my sister is awesome.
You likely need to know my sister and me to get this. But here I go anyway.
So. There we were. My parents, me, my sister Jen and her husband Trevor, sitting in Jen and Trevor's mini-van. It is a brisk and muddy spring day, and we are awaiting a pre-funeral burial. This means that we are sitting in the middle of nowhere in a rural cemetary. And because we are our mother's children, and because she is her father's daughter, we are stupid early. Like, no sign even of the family or the morutary people yet early. And because Jen is Jen, she had a large coffee on the way out. And also because Jen is Jen, she now needs to pee. Badly.
Now, there was many a roadtrip in our youth that involved a squat-and-pee behind the bushes at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. But somehow, doing a squat-and-pee behind the bushes in a cemetary in the middle of nowhere seems somehow...wrong. Plus, its too cold for her to have her butt hanging out all free and naked like. And so, as she has done so many times in the past, Jen decides to hold it.
Thus begins our heroic effort to distract Jen from the fact that her bladder is about to burst. And by 'ours', I mean hers and mine. And by 'heroic effort', I mean chatting endlessly about nothing, which leads to our voices getting faster and faster and pitched higher and higher which eventually leads to cackling and snorting and the certainty that we are the cleverest gals ever.
We can gage when we have hit our stride by watching our husbands. Even though the two of them are very different guys - apart from their excellent taste in broads, obviously - there are similarities. Among these similarities are the ways in which we know we're being especially special, and that day, Trevor exhibits them all like clockwork. First, the shoulders take on that certain slope. And then The Look plasters itself on his face (and let's be honest, Jen and I both live to know we've achieved The Look). And THEN, the muttered under the breath string of endearments. Yup. We have a winner.
But our winner that day really was a winner. In the midst of all of the cackling, Jen and I had decided that really, someone ought to give the two of us our own morning radio show. It would be called...wait for it...'Weighty Matters in the Morning With Jen and Kira'. And we would discuss weighty matters. Duh. We had (and still do, by the way) it all planned out. Mostly, it would just be Jen and I generally being awesome and holding forth on whatever took our fancy that day. But we'd also enlist Trevor as our farming expert, our brother Jeb as our fencing and trucking expert, and our cousin Tim as our sports guy. Chris could talk about military stuff, and our Dad could do welding. People would come away from our show just a whole lot smarter than when they went in. And who doesn't want to be smarter? We even had our logo and coffee mugs designed.
We choose to ignore the fact that when Trevor relayed this conversation to our brother, Jeb, the latter's response was "How do you think I felt growing up with the both of them?", followed by a lot of head shaking by the both of them. Ignore, ignore, ignore.
Jen is only eleven months younger than I am. We practically shared a womb; maybe that's why we practically share a brain. LIke our husbands, Jen and I are alike in many ways, but in so many more ways, we are the same person.
I know I can call her up after having a challenging day with my kids and make whatever kind of outrageous statement I want to make without being judged - because Jen has felt exactly the same way about her kids, too. And then we can reassure ourselves that the mere fact that our girls are still alive after a day like that means we are probably in line for sainthood. She seems to sense when I am feeling down, and will give me a call. She can tell which stories in the news will have me raging. She understands what its like to have eyebrow hairs whose roots go seven feet deep into your head, and the fun that therefore comes with waxing. And she understands why 'schwa' is the funnest word ever to say. In fact, she totally gets it if you call her up, say 'schwa', and then hang up.
Even though I am the oldest, in most ways, Jen is the centre hub of our family - she is certainly the bossiest and most stubborn of the three of us. Jeb, who is not un-stobborn himself, has said in the past that when Jen decides you need to do something, you may as well just do it, because you'd be better off banging your head against a brick wall than trying to argue with her. And so, if you're job hunting, prepare to be bombarded with job postings from Jen, because she's been on all the job boards deciding your life for you. I've lost count of the times I've answered the phone to be immediately talked at with "Okay, this is what you should do."
When I got sick last year, I knew that I could call her whenever I needed to, or whenever I felt like Chris didn't need to listen to me go on and on and on at him again. That sister of mine was a calm, steady presence in my swirling sea of anxiety. I always felt more anchored after talking to her, and she never ever doubted that I would get better, which was especially important when I was doubting myself.
But the best part about having Jen for a sister is that, although she recognizes that I am a wife and a mother now, as is she, she still sees me as her sister. The person she grew up with, the person who knows all of her stories and lived many of them with her, and the person who is a person aside from being a wife and mother and who likes to have a good giggle. Somedays, it is good to be reminded of that. It is, one might say, a weighty matter.
And that's why my sister is awesome.