Some time ago, I promised to write an Ode to Katy, the youngest of the Smith Sisters.
I knew Katy before she knew herself. The first inkling I had about her existence was during a VERY long drive from Monterey, California to Coon Rapids Minnesota. My Navy dad had been restationed (yes to Minnesota) and on the drive, we kept having to stop at the side of the road for my mom to puke. I was 7 at the time, and remember being worried that she was sick. I can't remember exactly when she told us the news, but I think it was sometime during the trip--probably as we were passing through one of the Dakotas.
Here I must digress. One of my favorite childhood memories is of that particular trip. (Back in the day, before the seatbelt Nazis came into power, the lot of us kids would travel in style--rolling around in the back of the station wagon. I have no idea where my parents picked that monstrosity up; in all it's golden glory, we'd cruise from state to state, arguing over who got to sit in the "way back." Hmm. A digression in the middle of my digression. ) My mom had picked up Kenny Rogers: 20 Years of Gold at some gas station. Mandy, Jon and I were ALL in the way back and started a truly bitchen' cover band. We played along to that tape for hours. Our favorite number was Somethings Burning. (Something's burnin! duga duga do do Somethin's burnin! duga duga do do Somethin's Burnin'! duga duga do do do And I think it's luuuv.) Jon was drumming on the cooler. I probably was singing into a banana or something ridiculous, and Mandy, I believe, was singing back up. I discovered that tape at my parents' house a few years back, and it was like finding a piece of the past. Rubin James, Ruby, Lucille, Damn. That's some good shit.
After the move to Minnesota, my mom started to get BIG. When she got ready for church, one of us kids would have to buckle her church shoes because she couldn't reach them. Katy was a ridiculous 2 weeks late--and weighed in at 1o pounds, 2 and 1/2 ounces. I don't remember how much Sophie weighed when she was born--7is pounds I guess, but I never forget Katy's birth weight.
Probably because she was so late, Katy was a very grown-up baby. She'd sit and look around--taking everything in. We called her Bubbakins. My dad would lay on the floor and hold her super-man style, and then just shift her slightly, so that the fat on her face smushed forward, then gently shake her, making her cheeks wobble and jump. Mandy and Jon and I would lay with our heads by my dad's and laugh and laugh.
Katy and I always had a close bond. She'd come to pieces if my mom or dad yelled at me. We played silly games together of the sort a 2 year old and 11 year old can manage. She made up "Bonkers"a game that consisted of us bumping our heads together while yelling, what else, "Bonkers," and then rubbing our foreheads and saying, 'Ouch." We made up a Best Buddy song that I still remember. (Who's your best buddy? Me me me me me. Who's you're best buddy? You you you you you. And we'll be friends forever--forever.)
I've already told the story, some time ago, of how we would play Sleeping Beauty, or Sleeping Beud, as Katy called it. She would stand up on a chair shoulders pink blanket wrapped around her sholders her stuffed pig, Brigita, tucked under the corner. I, being the prince, would ride up on my horse/broomstick, and Kate would throw back her blanket revealing Sleeping Piggy and say, "Here's your precious princess!" After a short battle came the finalie. Katy would belt out, "Now you shall deal with me O prince. And all the powers of HELL!" GT.
So as sisters, we've been close--had fun--but the most lovely part of our relationship has just happened in the past 2-3 years. Katy had become more than my sister; she is a woman who I choose to be friends with. Last week, when I was feeling like total cat shit, she showed up, and did a beautiful job of highlighting my hair. Katy is the family pedicurist, and has never turned me down for a delectable foot soak, massage, and toenail painting. She's willing to really play with my Soph, getting down and crawling around, meowing, and being the best darn kitty a girl could want to play with.
Mental snapshots of Katy pop up in my head as I write this: Dashing through the rain to the ice cream parlor, bearing the Cinderella princess cake that she made Soph for her birthday; microphone in hand, singing Karaoke like a freakin' rock star; playing "boop," a game that she and Janzen invented--and I don't understand--but it truely cracks him up; sitting on the porch with me, shedding angry tears about the incompitence and unfairness of her previous boss.
What a gal!
Today's best thing about being a mom:
We were at my mom's the other day, getting ready to have dinner. Sophie said, "We need to do the performance!" Confused, I asked her what performance. She pointed at my dad and said--"You--say the words." Oh--the blessing on the food! We don't pray at our house, and I fucking love it that she sees prayer at my mom's for what it is--a little performance that has to be done before getting down to the business of eating.
Today's worst thing about being a mom:
I'm having a bit of a mommy identiny crisis lately; loosing the woman in the mother, so to speak. Sometimes I feel like I'm turning into someone I'm not.