On Saturday, February 12 two thousand, two things happened that changed everything in my life. The first was that on this day my baby sister was married. She was twenty-six this day, and yet to me she was still my baby sister. I suppose that I pictured her as a little girl, and treated her like one in order to hold onto and preserve my own youth. Until I saw her in her wedding dress I still had a vision of her with chubby little cheeks and long, dark-brown pigtails blowing in the wind, perhaps even a permanent smudge of chocolate around her pink lips. I guess it's true that you see only what you want to see. Where did this beautiful woman with the glowing complexion and gentle curves come from?
I was happy that day, and also sad. Gone were the days of me bossing her around and telling her what she should do with her life. My bossy behavior had earned me the nickname Lucy. If you are a Peanuts fan then you can clearly imagine my behavior as an older sister. To me it wasn't an insult; I rather like the nickname Lucy. I happen to think that Lucy is strong and has incredible self-confidence, although she is a little overbearing at times. I did my best to live up to the standards set forth by this dynamic cartoon character.
I left the reception to get some air because suddenly I was overcome with grief at the realization that I was no longer a child. I went outside and walked to a nearby playground where there were children playing on the slide, the swings and digging in the dirt. There was a little girl twirling around on a bar, one knee wrapped tightly around the bar and fashioned behind her knee. It was all I could do to sit there and just watch, for I too wanted to get on that bar with her and see if I could still hold the all-time twirling record (ninety-nine times in fifth grade). Somewhere inside I knew that I would break my neck, and I was wearing a bridesmaid dress. Not exactly play ground material. And so I sat watching the children play. I'm not sure how long I sat there before my sister came and joined me. We talked about how we are grown up now and shed a few tears for our childhood days gone by. As she wiped a tear from my eye she lovingly said, 'You’ll always be Lucy to me.' We hugged.
My cousin Mike walked over and told my sister that it was time to cut the cake. And then he dropped bomb number two on me. 'Hey, did you guys hear that Charles Schultz died today?' He said it like it was no big deal. He took my sister's arm and turned to head back for the reception hall. 'Coming?' They asked. 'In a minute.' I replied, and sat back down on the bench, dizzy from what he had just told me.
Dead? How could Charles Schultz be dead? He was my creator! And though I have never met the man personally, he has always been like an invisible father to me. He did, after all, fashion a famous character after me. I lost so many things on this day. Innocence slipped away from me like a thief in the night: come and gone before I could do anything about it, taking with it all the treasures that I held most valuable in my heart. I felt myself grow up, all in one moment. Reality rushed in around me like a hurricane tide. There was nowhere to run to. All I could do was sit there and watch it destroy and reshape what had existed only a moment before. I was no longer a child. I was no longer Lucy who knew what was best for everyone else. I saw, for the first time, what I really was-a thirty-year old woman with a husband of my own, and soon, a child of my own.
I allowed the tide to carry my sadness out with it ball mill. Take it out to sea, for it serves no purpose in my life. I stood up from the bench; a little taller than I was when I sat down. I turned and headed back to the hall, hoping I didn't miss the cutting of the cake jaw crusher. It was the day my sister grew wings of her own and left the nest. It was the day that Lucy died, and I was born.
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