I had the bed next to the stairwell. Yours was on the other wall near the window. For some reason or another, we always had sleepovers in my bed, and when we tried to be sneaky, because we were still up past bedtime, Mom would hear us.
We’d giggle and quick hide our heads under the sheets. Yes, of course, we’d magically go to sleep with that warning.
Since we lived in Brooklyn Park, MN, we played the game kitty. Remember that?
I’ll give you this much food, and this much water. But that’s it.
Hours. Hours we played that game. It was so pointless, and there was no way to win, but night after night we’d play that game.
Anytime I look back in my brain and think of happy childhood moments, you’re in the memories. I remember playing in giant snow banks in Coon Rapids with you, missing gloves and my fingers throbbing from cold, but not wanting to go inside. The time I fell off my bike three blocks from home at Clarion University’s stadium and telling me to take a ride with those two college girls, because that’s totally safe. Stuffing things down Grandma’s laundry chute and having Grandma stick her head in the other chute to yell at us to stop. Climbing the apple trees in the back yard. Listening to the Cranberries and singing really bad karaoke in Plymouth. Crank calling people in Clarion asking if Gladys is home. Taking the tarps off the high jump mats and then hiding under them when security saw us. Breaking into the press box at the stadium. That time we invited our boyfriends over when Mom was out of town and we left the GIANT FRONT ROOM WINDOW wide open and was caught by one of our many watchful neighbors.
You were there for me for every major milestone. You’ve been patient with me for every single freak out. You pushed me to be brave when I didn’t want to be. A lot of who I am is because of you.
We moved a lot. And a lot of times we had to make new friends and learn new rules and discover new neighborhoods.
But because of you, every place we went to, it was home.
Today is your birthday.