Monday, May 20, 2013


My sister tried to rock over my tiny baby head when I was only five weeks old.  Fortunately for myself and the rest of mankind,  my mom grabbed her right before the wooden rockers crushed my adorable mug.  If you ask my mom for her side of the story, she will lace it with words like "accidental" and "unpremeditated," but I always knew exactly what was going through little Kelli Jo's advanced mind.

Unbeknownst to the family, I was imposing on Kelli's destiny of remaining an only child. From the moment they placed a Fisher Price microphone in her grabby hands, she became the star. For the next decade, she would write, direct, and star as lead in all her own theatrical works. Some sisters pull hair.  Others slap and claw.  Mine always made me play a dude in her bossy garage productions. 

Kelli and I probably never would have picked each other as friends had we not been born sisters first.  We've had over twenty years of difference and dysfunction to realize that we aren't really all that alike.  She was always the graceful, rhythmic one; I once knocked myself out running into a parking meter.  She had the lovely, soprano voice for the high school musicals; I had the loud obnoxious cackle that landed me the part of the Wicked Witch.

While Kelli always strove for perfection and order, I loved a life of disarray and improv. We never really saw eye to eye (perhaps because I was blessed with an extra six inches) on just about anything.  My friends soon became like sisters to me, and Kelli and I went our separate ways. Though we both thrived in the spotlight, there can only be one star to every show.

Eventually, Kelli and I missed out on knowing each other.  I never knew her favorite book or her first heartbreak; she never knew where I went on the weekends or my favorite nail polish color.  We allowed ourselves to become strangers, and assumed we would always be so. 

It's 9:30 pm in Switzerland as I write this, and I am trying to finish this blog post while waiting for the guest bedroom sheets to dry.  I have a friend arriving on Sunday.  She also happens to be my sister.

If you told the childhood Steffo that people do change and that Kelli and I would one day get over all our stupid drama, I would have told you, "Right. And I'll end up living next to goats in Switzerland."

Crazier things have happened. 

Kelli still rolls her eyes when I have one too many drinks and embarrass her; I still hit ignore on her sixteen phone calls when I don't want to hear about her drastic new hair trim.  I have yet to ask her favorite book (though I would guess it has yet to be written since I am sure it will be her biography), and she still doesn't know that I eat whip cream directly out of the can when I'm feeling a tad blue.

We will never be the Kardashians or Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, but we've finally made room for each other; we respect each other.  Dare I say we even admire the other. 

In a few short days, Kelli will arrive (in style, no doubt) with her Godsend of a boyfriend, Craig, and we will spend an entire week learning to share the spotlight.  Oh, and she says she's bringing a gift for Amelia. 

Here's hoping it's not a Fisher Price mic.


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  2. LOL You my dear are my second favorite babysitter story (Tim locking Nathan Martin out of the house is the first).

    Kelli used to sit for us and I remember the TV was turned off and soccer ball brought out when she arrived. Then she became less available and you came instead one time. Alanna loved you. I soon realized it was the drama you two shared. I walked in once and all three of you - you included all decked out in some crazy dress up outfit - all stopped whatever you were doing and got quiet. I figure we had busted you in some "play". From that day on you were my hero. Anyone that puts on plays for the kids she's sitting must be an OK chick.

    Best to both the Smith girls. Different people, different ways about them, both great babysitters. :) Debbie

  3. I LOVE your storytelling. You have an amazing gift, lil Steffo. From yo momma's friend, Jo.