So tonight I got to be a proud big sister at Jan's Gala des Merites. You know what I realized? I'm really not a clapper. I truly just do not like to applaud. Now where would I have picked this up? Are some of us just born that way? But about Jan I realized that she is really growing up. I mean, it seems like just yesterday it was me on the stage accepting awards and 8-year old Jan was in the audience applauding (or not, maybe this thing is genetic) me. I have all kinds of memories of little Jan and little Rob, and tonight when I was taking pictures of them together on stage, I knew that those days were long gone. When I moved out of the house, Jan was 13, still a kid in elementary school, and suddenly she's 17, poised and accomplished and beautiful. Those 4 years that I missed are the pivotal years when a person goes from kid to adult. And it's now hard to look at her and not see myself. She is the person I was when I left.
The last stage that I graced before I left was on my high school graduation. It was so exciting to stand up there and receive my diploma and awards and bursaries. I felt ready to leave and start a new life. It was a proud night for me, and prouder still when I got home later (much, much later in fact, due to a celebratory trip to Montreal) to find a note from T saying "They clapped the loudest for you." More than four years later, I still think that's the nicest thing that anyone has ever said to me. That night, I had an idea of what the rest of my life would be: I was moving to Ottawa, pursuing a degree, chasing a dream. And who was by my side? My husband, Jason, though he wasn't my husband then. So when I see Jan up on that stage, I know what this year means to her. And it scares me because she's still my little sister and it's so hard to let go of wanting to protect her. I still remember the first day I ever swore in front of her, and it was traumatic. You spend so much time being told to take care of your little sister, look out for her and shelter, and then all of a sudden you realize that when you were her age, you HATED anyone who tried to do those things. So where do we go from here? I was just 5 1/2 when Jan was born and I know I was excited to have another new sister. When I was 10 and she was 4, she was a cutie but not so much a playmate. And that was even truer when I was 18 and she was 12. Aside from blood we had not much in common. But as we get older that age gap disappears and we have to redefine our relationship to be just sisters, and forget about big and little (I'm not overly fond of being referred to as big anyway). Anyway, it was a delightful night to see Jan shine, and when she took home the Student of the Year award, I was not one bit surprised.
What continues to surprise me, however, is when I meet up with little bits of my past. Tonight, it was a little boy I used to babysit 10 years ago. Today this kid is bigger than my husband. I've tucked him into bed and watched cartoons with him, made his dinner, chased the boogie men away, and even cleaned up his puke. So when that kid walks up to you and he towers over you, it's a bit of a shock. While he has probably grown 2 feet, I haven't grown an inch :( .
But I have to say despite all this, the strangest part of my night has not yet been discussed. Jan and I are still deciding whether to go with Limpy or Gimpy, but the fact of the matter is that my mother most definitely is limping away. Why, you might ask? Well, it's the beetle juice. This is a new treatment for plantar's warts that is currently bubbling in her little toe sock, causing immense blisters, immenser pain, and obviously enough discomfort to cause limping. So yes, beetle juice. It takes two days of cooking, then it should blister up the toe and be ready for "removal" tomorrow, whatever that may mean. Yummy, eh?
Anyways, now I have the serious task of awaiting 3 am while remaining fully conscious and not throwing up due to the overabundance of reality crap on TV. First off, the amount of rose petals on The Bachelor really makes me queasy. It's not romantic when they're throwing hoardes of rose petals at 4 different women at the same time, it's cheesy and degrading. But the show after that, Wife Swap (or something like that) really gets to me. Why do we need shows like that, and who is watching them? No wonder I've been reading so much lately!
[Anyone who has arrived her from searching ye great search engine in the sky, Google, or heck, even Yahoo!, or one of the babies, looking for info on the beetle juice for warts thing, here is what I know: in my mother's case, she had had plantar warts for years. Nothing else worked. She wasn't too concerned about it until the doctor said when her immune system was down, they could multiply by the hundreds. That scared her. So she had it done; twice actually. The first time hurt her a lot but didn't really do anything. The second time, unfortunately, had the same results. So I can't really recommend it, but again, hers were old and deeply rooted...gross, I know, but there you have it.]