Now entering her late-mid twenties…

I remember squishing her soft spot the first time I held her.  I was almost four.  We lived in a rented farm house surrounded by cows and corn fields.  I don’t remember the decor, specifically, just a lot of orange and brown.  Logs were often used as side table substitutes. 

I remember she looked Asian, small almond-shaped eyes, pitch black pin-straight hair, olive complexion.  She and I looked nothing alike.

I remember she had curly toes when she was little.  (Sorry, Trace.  That’s for getting 9000 on Farkle on your first try.  You suck it, nerd.)

I remember she cried a lot as a toddler.  A bit whiney, that one was.  I can only imagine that I probably had something to do with it, but I think I’ve chosen to forget that part.

I remember driving to Florida the year she was two.  She was a dummy-kid (as in she enjoyed soothers).  Hardcore.  Tragedy struck and the dummy was lost.  We all paid the consequences.  She cried and screamed for HOURS until my parents could finally pull off the highway and completely buy out the drug store of all soothers and soother-like products. 

I remember playing Barbies for hours on end.  We’d start by dividing the dolls, then the clothes, by going one-n-one-n-one.  We’d get in so much trouble for the mess we made.

I remember waking her up on Christmas Eve because I couldn’t sleep with excitement.  I asked her if she wanted me to read her a book.  In the middle of the night.  She obliged.

I remember walking her to school in the rain, getting so angry.  The ground was covered with worms and she was scared to death.  It probably didn’t help that I would pick them up and shove them near her face to show her that they were harmless.  I think it took us about an hour to walk two blocks that day.

I remember asking for a Cricket doll one year for Christmas.  As usual, I woke up in the middle of the night to “use the bathroom” and snuck a peek at our haul.  Cricket was there, all set up for the big surprise.  It was for her.  I hid my devastation because by then I knew the truth about Santa.  I think our wish lists got mixed up in “Santa’s workshop”.  Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t get it because, man, that thing was creepy.  Like, Chucky-creepy.

I remember a woman took offense to her walking on the lawn on the way to school.  The woman video taped her doing so and brought it to our house for my mom to watch.  My mom got all Mama Bear on the woman and told her (colourfully, I’m sure) to stop stalking her daughter or she’ll call the cops.

I remember she dyed her hair the colour of fire.  The colours of fire.  On purpose.  It had various shades of auburn, orange, red and yellow.  Henceforth, she became known as Firestarter.

I remember her winning the top award for fashion design in high school.  She has a diploma in accounting and she is a certified Wilton cake decorator.  She is taking Gerontology while helping her boyfriend run two (soon to be 3) Pita Pit restaurants.  I’ve never met a more diversified person.

I remember laughing so hard we cried and fell to the ground.  I remember this happening every single time we’re together.  I remember my brother was (and is) usually the one to take it That One Step Too Far.  I remember mostly laughing about poop (the scoots, the runs, the trots, the shut-butt shuffle…) .

She’s just Tracey to the girls (we don’t use familial formalities around here – just first names are used); sometimes Trace.  To my parents, she’s Boo (she got Boo, my brother got Bud, I got…wait for it…Gooski-meister).  To me, she’s Tah-hee.

Happy 26th Birthday, Tah-hee.  Hope you get fat from the Zebra cake, pass out from the triptophen, and rich from your birthday gettin’s.

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