We may not have travelling pants, but there are a few dresses that have changed hands more than once. That’s right. Today, on her birthday, I’m talking about my sister. Amber Ananda Ensign was born on March 25th 19somethingsomething.* I was very excited because I wanted a sister. I was less excited when my parents didn’t take my suggestion and name her “Golden Hair”. (I’m pretty sure I’m remembering that right. Apparently I listened to a lot of America when I was four.)
When we were young, Amber and I were very different—and not just because I was five years older, and when you’re a kid, five years is a near-insurmountable gulf. It was more that Amber knew her mind from moment one. I don’t think my mom ever picked out school clothes for Amber. She knew what she wanted to wear from kindergarten on, and she’d even change clothes several times a day when she wasn’t at school. I think my mom was picking my clothes for me well through elementary school. I just didn’t care. Amber knew from a very young age what she wanted to do with her life. She wanted to be a librarian. So that’s exactly what she did. (I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.**)
Now that we’re both grown up (or at least slightly more mature than when we were kids), we’re much more alike. Our nerdiness and passion for books and media have brought us together even closer than a mere blood bond could. She’s turned me on to so many of the things I love–Gilmore Girls, Kimagure Orange Road (the tv series), the Realm of the Elderlings series from Robin Hobb, Travis, Nickel Creek, even social media. She’s the one who encouraged me to join Facebook and Twitter. If not for the latter, I wouldn’t be married and living in Canada right now. So yeah, I owe her a great debt! Or many of them… In return, I recently turned her on to the world of podcasts. She has a longish commute, which is now filled up with audio goodness. Okay, much of it contains me, so I’m a little biased there.
It’s neat knowing my little sis will be hearing everything I say on podcasts. Even though we don’t talk on the phone/Skype as much as we probably should, I feel like I’m talking to her a little bit every week, and she’s told me she feels that too. I hadn’t thought of podcasts as a way to keep in touch, but it turns out they fulfill that function in some small way. Right now I’m kicking myself for not being utterly nepotistic and wishing her a happy b-day on the Verity! ep that came out this morning. We’ve been recording so far ahead that I forgot it would come out today. Sorry Amber!
In addition to excellent taste, Amber has great strength. She was diagnosed with MS a few years back, and despite the uncertainty of that awful disease and the difficulty of dealing with its symptoms, she’s persevered and continued to be an exceedingly good reference librarian, a doting kitty-mom,*** a generous friend, a loyal girlfriend, a loving daughter, and the best sister anyone could hope for.
So today I’m more homesick than I have been in a very long time because it doesn’t seem right not to be able to hug my sister on her special day. I hope this post is a decent substitute.
*I didn’t clear this with her first, so I’m just gonna leave her exact birthday off this post. The pictures though? Sister’s prerogative. They stay. Speaking of, that first pic is of Amber in 2007. That’s not just a costume, people. She was LARPing in Ring Game, and if I’m remembering correctly, she was playing Eowyn. Yep. My sis’s geek cred is substantial.
**I suspect it has something to do with podcasting, so maybe I can give young-Erika a break, as podcasts didn’t exist back then. Of course podcasting isn’t exactly something too many folks can do for a living, so I guess I still don’t know what I want to be.
***Her cat Tristan assures me this is true.
°Yes, that is a terrible picture of me. But it’s a great pic of Amber, so I’m including it. I’m that good a sister.