Ah, productivity. I’m on deadline. Which means I’ve spent the best part of this morning writing a short history of the 27 quality years I’ve shared with my little sister Lani, who is celebrating her birthday today. Without getting too soppy (my mascara isn’t waterproof) Lani is about the best sister a gal like me could hope for. She is funny and sweet and she knows how to tell a good yarn. She can do all sort of things that I can’t, like drive a car and bake a mean lasagne. She can speak Spanish and has travelled a lot and reads a good mix of quality literature and really crap self-help. She isn’t a hippy but she knows how to talk star-signs and manifesting. She isn’t an alcoholic but knows how to drink 20 standard drinks in one sitting without getting kicked out of our favourite late-late-late night pub. Where I am a dishevelled and disorganised mess, Lani is organised and well-groomed. Where I am a little bit crazy and a little bit OCD, Lani is cool and calm and together. She is a blessing and I am so glad that I got to grow up with her. As our many siblings can attest, she is the Patty to my Selma.
To show how much I love her I tried to post the following birthday letter on her facebook wall today. But there is a word limit for these things and I guess unsurprisingly, I’ve been a little too verbose. So in the interests of over-sharing, I’ve put it up on the blog. Happy birthday Lan-Lan. x
I don’t remember the months leading up to your birth as I was probably too busy drooling chocolate freddo down my fairy dress and scratching Ma & Pa’s record collection. But I do remember how excited I was when Dad took me to the hospital the day you were born.
“I want to see my baby sister, NOW!’ I screamed as Dad (probably bleary-eyed and itching to get down the local tavern to do some head wetting, or at least make it to the TAB before close and put your birth date on a trifecta) walked me down the hospital corridor. I’m sure he was thinking “Fuck me, I hope baby Lanneke isn’t as bossy as this kid.”
Lucky for the parentals, you weren’t as bossy. Or messy. Or fashion challenged. Mum got the pretty Mummy’s girl with golden locks she always wanted and Dad found you to be the kindred food spirit he always knew he would one day sire. On family road trips, in the days long before fast food outlets dotted the highway like fluorescent lit roadkill, you and he could sniff out a food van selling hot dogs and jam donuts from 25 kilometres away.
One day I will document our many adventures but for the benefit of our family and friends on the book of face and on this your 27th birthday, here are some of the childhood highlights:
*1987. Enforced fun times. Like the day Cousin Katy and I made you to learn the words and dance moves to Bananarama’s ‘Venus’:
Me + Katy (enthusiastic, jazz hands): Goddess on a mountain top
You (arms folded, unimpressed): top top top
Me + Katy (more enthusiastic, big smiles): Burning like a silver flame
You (arms folded, even more unimpressed): plame plame plame
*1991. Empathy will bring us together. They say blood is thicker than water.
But you know what is thicker than blood? The hot pink fleece of a home made track suit. The mutual humiliation of being forced to wear Mum’s sewing machine creations, which included jumpers with appliqué houses and circulation cutting cuffs.
*1995. Rebellion in Turvey Park.
The subtle yet revolutionary alterations you made to our street sign made dull suburbia a little less dull. The crossing of the ‘T’ on ‘Tucker’ so it became an ‘F’ showed the creative zeal you would put to good use in your future as a media professional. And it always gave the homeward stretch of the family car trip a little more pizzazz.
Happy birthday, dear girl. Have a good one.
Selma + Jub Jub