It was March 17th, 1995 and let me tell you, it was a day that would change my world forever. The British freakin’ pound hit 2.4545 to the Dutch gilder (a record!), a few weeks ago Jodi Foster won Most Dramatic Motion Picture, and I had just belted out TLC’s “Creep” in the car on the way to the hospital. Swag money! I was three years old and had never felt so alive.
The buzz I had been feeling as I took a swig out of my ladybug sippy cup was all feels, man. It was the 90s and I had been living it big. Peep my Oshkosh B’Gosh overalls! I heard Michelle on Full House had the same pair!
I was suddenly jolted out of my haze of good vibes as my grandpa pulled me by the hand. We stepped out of the elevator and into a wide, bustling hall. Did I hear babies crying? I looked over at Grandma who was carrying a small sized one-year-old Logan (he’s now 6’4″). My little brother always bawled his face off before he threw up. We called him “Up-Chuck” at home because he literally couldn’t keep his mashed green beans down. What a waste. Green beans are so bitchin’.
“Kristin, are you excited to meet your little sister?” Grandpa asked as he patted me on the back. Grandma followed in tow, fussing over Logan.
I took a long pull on my apple juice thoughtfully, enjoying the attention.
“Yeah, yeah. Logan is all right even though he never seems to respond to the books I read him. He just farts on me instead of having an academic discussion about Barney’s ability to play the trumpet. In my humble opinion-”
Grandpa grunted, “Aww, good stuff. Good stuff.”
He pushed his way around the curtain in a room off to our left and I followed haphazardly. Where were we going? I loathed hospitals. Where were mom and dad?
I poked my head around Grandpa’s legs.
Soft pale pink walls enveloped the bed Mom was chillin’ in. Dad sat alongside her bed and was preoccupied with whatever Mom was holding in a fuzzy blanket. As we shuffled in, Mom and Dad both looked up and smiled.
“Come meet Allison Paige,” Mom said.
I eyed the bundle she held very suspiciously. If this thing was anything like Logan, it was going to be quite the attention-sucker, I thought. I took a deep breath, took another pull on my apple juice (for courage), and peered over the edge of the bed.
The mini human had bugling, closed eyes and small tufts of hair strewn about her little head. Instantly, I was captivated. I would be the best big sister ever, I told myself.
Fast-forward many years later, and that little burrito in the blanket is now twenty-one years old. She’s now going to have her Senior Night for volleyball in a few days and would now make a much larger burrito. Her eyes are no longer bugling, her hair grew in, and she’s stunningly pretty now.
Though I’d love to say I honored my wish to be the best big sister ever, there have been quite a few times where I know I could’ve been a better one. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, my sister and I had some trials and tribulations, especially when we were in the midst of our Chemical Romance/Fall Out Boy teenage years. She once broke into my LOCKED treasure chest to get into my diary to find out who I liked. After awhile, I sensed she knew who my crushes were (<3 Alex ❤ and ❤ Mason <3) and I wrote to her in my own diary to let her know I knew…she knew. I’d retaliate and break into her diary and make fun of her for liking ❤ Jeff <3. It was the best of times!
Even though I sometimes doubt I’ve been the best sister to her, I know I can always make her laugh and I live for it. I still brag to anyone who will listen that I once made her laugh so hard during a game of foursquare that she peed her pants. Lovingly, I then forced her to get the hose to spray off the pee from the “Baby” square. Oh, the irony.
Another one of my favorite memories of us doing hoodrat stuff is the day our brother, Logan, ripped his leg open on a tree in the backyard. Alli and I were taking disposable photographs of our cats in various doll clothing (this is something I should probably tell my therapist) when our Mom yelled at us to stay in our room. Naturally, we wanted to see what was up. Unbeknownst to us, Logan’s leg lay grotesquely cut open in the kitchen a few feet away and our Mom didn’t want us to see and accelerate the situation any further.
Naturally, as anyone else would’ve done, I grabbed Alli and we both started screaming hysterically. We ran back to our room, I snatched the Youth Bible laying on the floor, and ran into the bathroom and locked Alli and myself inside. We continued to scream in the bathtub and clutched the Bible like it was a buoy keeping us afloat.
Weirdly, Jesus himself didn’t answer our prayers and come down from the heavens to join us in the shower. I wonder why. Several minutes later, Logan was on the way to the ER and Alli and I felt as though it was safe to unlock the bathroom door and venture out.
It’s memories like this that make me feel so #blessed to have Alli.
Not only did we have the chance to scream in a bathtub together in the early 2000’s, but we had the opportunity to play volleyball together for four and a half years. I grew up as the bigger, taller, and “I got a letter from Texas my sophomore year of high school” type recruit* while she was continually told she was “too short” to play D1 (this should make anyone angry, Alli is 5’9″). Alli was always the level-headed player while I could become a different person at the flick of a switch. Alli was a solid passer, great digger, and had a great jump-float serve (when she graduated she held the record at our high school). She could also still hit a ball inside the ten foot line no problem. On the other hand, I was more of a “just blocking and hitting”-type player. I’d be angry if every ball I hit didn’t land inside the ten foot line. Alli would play six rotations, I would play three. Alli is the type of player you can always count on to both perform on the court as well as lead on and off the court. You could count on me to either play out of my mind or completely self-implode.
Though we were two different molds of players, we played for the same high school and eventually, the same Division 1 school. Not to my surprise, she enjoyed great success at Binghamton University. Her Freshman year, she earned a place on the America East All-Rookie Team. Alli’s Sophomore year, she followed up a great Freshman year with All-America East First Team honors. Her Junior and Senior season have been riddled with injuries but every time I’ve talked with her, she’s remained positive despite discouraging circumstances. She’s been a two-year captain and finishes off a storied career with 569 kills and 458 digs in just two years, holds a career high of a 19 kill match and has recorded numerous double-doubles over the course of her Freshman and Sophomore years. Her height hasn’t stopped her in the slightest and I couldn’t be more proud of Alli as both a player and my sister.
Though we’ve each gone through our own personal struggles, we each know we always have each other’s backs in the end.
So even though I once skeptically looked at a little burrito Alli swaddled in blankets at the hospital, I couldn’t be more happy to have her as my sister and best friend. In fact, I’m not even embarrassed to be Facebook official as her sister! She’s come a long way from reading my diaries and peeing on the pavement during foursquare games and there isn’t a single day that goes by where I don’t think God I have her.
Here’s to celebrating your senior year, Al Bob. Thanks for being the calming presence to my hot mess-ness. I love you to pieces!
*It was my sophomore year, Texas always has a huge budget and can send many, many letters out to recruits so don’t read into this and think I was ever capable of playing here. The point is that several Division 1 schools began sending me mail my freshman and sophomore year just as they did with many other players at this age.