Now listen, Baby Boy Lewis. I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about being the little brother to a fabulous older sister. I have 38 years of experience to give you, and I know what I’m talking about. No, I was not the younger sibling. I was the fabulous older sister.
You have enormous shoes to fill. I mean that literally. I’ve never seen anyone with bigger feet than your dad. But big feet do not deter you from dancing. Don’t try to get out of re-creating the lift scene from “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt, by using your big feet as an excuse. IT WON’T WORK. Besides, all those routines your sister made you learn will only benefit you when you are older and dancing in the Chicago clubs. The running man? The Tootsie Roll? THE ROGER RABBIT? Please. You’ll need to shoo the ladies off with a stick. But give credit where credit is due: your sister taught you everything. Without her, you’d still be doing the Moonwalk.
The other thing you’re going to need to know is how to fight. I don’t mean punching and kicking. I’m talking about a psychological type of fighting that your big sister will most likely become a master of. It will throw your game off considerably, and you’ll be in timeout before you know what happened. Here’s how it works: your sister will quietly make you so mad you’ll hit her. She’ll let out a yell sprinkled with fake cries, and you’ll be sent to your room. Your sister will fight this way for as long as she can, so it’s best you learn to counter this attack early.
Look, it’s not going to be all fighting. There are going to be summer night’s catching fireflies, and snowy walks home from school throwing snowballs. You might even set up a community where Barbie Dolls are neighbors with Storm Troopers and Transformers. Although, be warned, if there’s a war, you’re going to want Barbie on your side. I don’t think a Storm Trooper even reaches Barbie’s hip; legs for days on that one.
If there ever comes a time when you both get sent to your rooms, what you can do is talk to each other through the heating duct. “It’s all your fault,” your sister might whisper through the vent. “We would still be watching Different Strokes if it wasn’t for you.”
Here’s where you’re going to want to remember to fight quietly. Your sister is just trying to rile you up so you’ll yell, then maybe your mom will give you more time in your room, and your sister will get to watch Arnold say, “Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?” for the three millionth time.
There I go telling you about fighting again. I’m sorry. The truth is, it’s hard to be a human being, and sometimes it’s hard to get along with other human beings, especially those that are closest to you. But your daddy, my little brother, is my first memory. I was two years old, wearing green overalls and a yellow shirt, sitting on the stairs in my house when I learned I was a big sister. I don’t remember going to the hospital, but I remember my dad holding me up so I could see beyond the glass wall, to my brother, Geoffrey Theodore. I remember nothing before him.
I might be exaggerating, but you won’t meet bigger Stevie Wonder fans than your daddy and I (though I swear to you I liked Stevie first). Once, your dad and I were at a wedding where a Stevie Wonder cover band was playing. They played all the hits: “I Just Called To Say I Love You,” “Superstition,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” However, your dad and I were interested in one song of Stevie’s, and one song only: “As.” We knew all the words, including the part where Stevie sort of raps and sounds like an ogre who visits Sesame Street.
While the band was on break, your dad and I walked up to the stage, leaned towards the group and said, “Um, excuse me? Will you please play, ‘As?’” I’ll never forget the look on their faces; a mixture of surprise and humor at the two wide-eyed twenty somethings asking to play Stevie’s greatest song of all time. The rest of the night, they’d play the first few chords and your dad and I would gasp and jump on the dance floor, ready to do the Electric Slide. Then they’d giggle and say, “Nah, nah,” and shake their heads. Your dad and I would slump our shoulders in defeat, laugh, and start dancing. Because after all, it was Stevie Wonder, and you can’t go wrong with a Stevie Wonder song.
It was a fantastic night.
I guess the best advice I can give you is despite what your fabulous older sister tries to torment you with, she thinks you’re pretty fantastic. She might not say it often, but she’s thrilled you’re here. You two are going to have a blast growing up together. Trust me, I know.
But like I said, you have enormous shoes to fill.
I love you, Baby Boy Lewis.
“Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky—ALWAYS
Until the ocean covers every mountain high—ALWAYS
Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea—ALWAYS
Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream.”