So, I have a big, extended family. Everyone knows this.
When I was 5 1/2 Kristi showed up.
I thought she was magical. I mean, that was my baby — I held her on the car ride home from the hospital, I played Barbies with her for months. I colored with her every Saturday morning for years (while she watched Strawberry Shortcake; she was a freak for that cartoon). When I was a teenager, I would make stories up for her — we were princesses trapped in a caste, we were trapped on boulders in a lake of acid, we were magical witches and we had to make potions out of grass and flowers and mud.
My favorite Kristi memory is from the beginning, though. It was after dinner and Kristi was in her highchair — I remember it being avocado green, but I could totally be wrong. I was playing with one of our dogs — Brigitte was her name and she was a boxer. Brigitte and I were running around the table like mad fiends and suddenly Kristi just cracked up. I mean, laughed in that totally goofy way that infants have with a huge smile and totally glee.
Mother looked over at me and said, “You made the baby laugh! Her first laugh! Do it again!"
So I did.
And she did.
And that was it. I was the big sister. I was the one who could make her laugh. Me. That was MY baby.
Damn near forty years later (I can hear her saying, NOT YET), I can still make her laugh and she’s still my baby.
Much love, y’all.