So it’s here. Susanna, Zuni, Wee-nana, Zanazenazuna, Bo-Bo-Passereenie, Aliwaccachia**, whatever you wanna call her, my baby sister is 30 years old.
There is something about this that makes me feel incredibly old. Perhaps even more old than when I turned 30 myself a few years back. Although I’m almost exactly four years older than Zuni, I can’t remember much of life before her. While I’m the older sister and I like to say that I’ve taught her everything she knows, the truth is, I’ve learned a lot about life from my little sister.
Here are just 5 of the many things she has taught me – one for every six years of her life.
1) If you have an opinion, keep it. If you know Susanna, you know she has strong opinions. If you know her and you didn’t know that she has strong opinions, I invite you to bring up one of the following topics: whether or not you should find out the sex of your baby before your child is born, the differences between British and American weddings, or jeggings.
She feels strongly about almost everything. And I love that about her. I have opinions, sure, but I’m also a people pleaser who often waits to hear what other people think before making up my mind. Susanna has always been a good example to me in that she holds to her opinions. Not to say she’s not willing to change, but she isn’t a follower. It’s pretty rad.
2) Swimming is not the reason you go to swim practice. Swim practice is for wacky hijinx. Okay so it’s primarily for swimming. But you can have a lot of fun while you are at it and most of that fun was discovered with Zuni at my side. We swam year round from the time we were wee lasses. Swimming is a great sport, but I would never have gotten through all those practices and meets without my sister.
We made great friends. We made up songs about other swimmers. We taught other swimmers to “don’t give up, cheer up!” (more about that in Thursday’s post). We relished the Joy of Swimming (taking off your cap at the end of practice and letting the cool water flow over your hair/scalp). We were traumatized by obese older women who danced half naked around the locker room. We teased our coaches. We got tan in the Summer and kept the smell of chlorine on our skin in the Winter. The list goes on. So many happy memories.
3) If you want something, go for it. Susanna wanted to go get a master’s degree from Christie’s in London. So she applied and got in. Then she wanted to stay in London. So she applied for a Visa and got it. This isn’t to say there wasn’t doubt and nail-biting and questioning of these decisions but she made a plan and went for it.
4) Laughter is the best medicine. No one can make me laugh like this girl. And boy have we laughed a LOT over the years. The list of swimming memories above is just the start. She knows just what to say to trigger my endless giggles.
5) Be yourself. This ties into some of the above, but Susanna is a truly genuine person. She sticks to her opinions. She goes for things even when she is afraid. She loves Jane Austen just as much as Arrested Development. She walks the line of introvert/extrovert. She cries everytime she leaves the airport to fly. She pushes the fashion envelope more than I do. She is a Bible study leader. She is uniquely Susanna. And being Susanna is a uniquely wonderful thing.
I can’t imagine life without you darling sister! Happy 30th Birthday Zuni! May God bless you with many many more wonderful years! I love you.
**She is also special because she has the most unique nicknames in the world.