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Today my baby sister Joan turns 60 (yes, I’m that old) and I feel moved to publicly celebrate what she means to me. Let me say right off the bat that this doesn’t mean I love my other siblings any less. Especially my precious older sister Mary whom I love dearly and who really got screwed in the whole birth order thing. But Joan and I have a special relationship. We were born only 19 months apart and were raised almost like twins. I have always been a part of her life and I don’t remember a time when she wasn’t part of mine. Growing up as “Pat&Joan” or “the little girls”, which is what we were called, we were practically inseparable.
There are many stories I could tell – but I won’t – many that only she and I would remember: Little Town, Another World, and of course, “We’re just playing”. And those are just from our childhood. The experiences and the closeness we’ve shared as young, and now “older” women have supported each of us through some pretty rough times and has allowed each of us to “double our pleasure” when something good happens for one of us.
Anyone who knows Joan knows that she is brilliant, beautiful, vital, and energetic, a savvy and successful businesswoman, an amazing mother, and she has a bright and sharp wit that is hilarious to anyone quick enough to get her jokes. But everyone may not always see her sweet and tender vulnerability, which is what makes her incredibly courageous. (I’ve always thought that of the two of us, I was the strong one, but she was the brave one.)
Suffice it to say that from this day 60 years ago, I’ve had a partner in life. My other half to the entity that is “Pat&Joan”. I wouldn’t, couldn’t, be the person I am today if she had not been such an integral part of my life for these 60 years. So in some ways, today is my birthday too. Maybe that’s just me trying to steal some of the spotlight from her special day, but then Joan will be the first to tell you that at the big moments in her life, I’ve always wanted to “go along for the ride.” So, Happy Birthday, dear Joan. Happy Birthday to us!