Each of us sisters has our own little place in the Circle of Baines, and Amy's was always firmly secured as our mom's favorite. (Trust me... no one will even bother denying this.) So you can imagine my resentment growing up in our Jacob and Esau situation; since I was the tomboy, I guess that made me the Esau. If the partiality had only been implied, it would have been one thing, but my mom literally described Amy this way her entire life: "She's practically perfect in every way."
Excuse me? First of all, HA. No she is not perfect. Take the blinders off, Gigi. Secondly, Mary Poppins was my favorite movie and having my little twerp sister described in the same way as my favorite flying nanny was just too much. Insult to injury... UGH. But despite the whole "mommy dearest" act that Amy put on for all those years (that's right; I said act) and the fact that we shared a room for 13 years, this little person ended being one of my best friends. Love really does conquer all.
Sweet and salty (but mostly sweet. Maybe not.)
Seriously though... it's funny to me that even though we're all close, each of my sisters plays a very different role in my life. Amanda and I talk a LOT and have pretty deep discussions about life in general (or Disney movies, but whatever.) April makes me laugh harder than anyone in the world and is great for getting worked up on my behalf but we don't get to talk that often because she's a dork and her phone is dead 90% of the time. And Amy seems to know how badly I want to talk to her and thus answers only rarely... like she's some kind of prize to be won. Ha! Not really... she's just busy at her Real Job being a Grown Woman or whatever.
I disturb her.
But when we do talk, it's fun for me because she's one of the few people in the family who doesn't laugh quite as readily at my jokes (April's always good for a snort or two) so making her laugh is more of a challenge. She's also more quick to make fun of me (which is usually my role with everyone else) and that's... wait, did I say I like her? Anyway, I also love that she's my only younger sister and that makes me feel like I'm old and wise (three whole years of experience, of course).
Some things I know and love about Amy, in no particular order:
-she is a total YouTube junkie and will spend hours with me trolling for different videos.
-she is the world's WORST at looking for something ("I looked and couldn't find it. Oh, you mean that thing right in front of your face??")
-she pretends to be annoyed by the kids (our nieces and nephews) and calls them names but they still adore her. I want to know how she does this.
-she hates drama of any kind (I wonder if watching three older sisters grow up has anything to do with that?)
-she has the ability to untangle any necklace. That sounds dumb, but I can't tell you how many times I would work myself into a sweat trying to loose a snarled chain and then watch her fix it in like two seconds.
-she loves a good steak. I've always said that the way to Amy's heart isn't shopping or anything like that... it's steak. The girl loves her beef.
-she loves food, period. And she's still friends with her metabolism. The jerk.
-she is faithful. I can't tell you how many times since I've been away from home that I've tried to get her to come visit or stay longer and she'll say, "I can't because I have ___________ at church." Sometimes it's annoying, but I do admire her dedication to her ministries.
-she really is good with kids. I kind of already said this, but it applies to all kids... she has a kind of way with them that is just the right balance between nice and mean... which will come in very handy in her classroom someday.
-she breaks the ice with strangers by making fun of me, especially if I know the people and she doesn't. ("Oh, my sister's your teacher? Sorry, kid. She's the worst." Sweet, right?)
-she's pretty easily embarrassed unless she's in a certain mood, so bursting into song (or something similar) in public is a sure way to make her run away.
-she's not terribly affectionate (except maybe to my family's dogs... ew) so a big hug is a great way to make her scream, "get off me!"
-she is, hands down, the best lip-syncer in America. Seriously, if I had a video in my possession (and if she wouldn't absolutely kill me) then I would post it. MAN, she's good. I really wish you could all have a glimpse into the absolute delight of watching her sing, in perfect sync, "Feelin' Good" by Michael Buble. A true delight.
-she memorized all the words (in Italian) to some Dean Martin song in high school and if I beg very hard she sings it for me and I love it.
-she's usually pretty quiet, so when she does come out of her shell she's absolutely outrageous and I usually end up in tears from laughing so hard. "MOM! STOP!"
-speaking of singing... Miss Thing has a voice like Karen Carpenter. I'm SO jealous of her
-she has an uncanny ability to pick out any actor/actress from any movie and remember them from some other project, no matter how obscure. And thanks to IMDB, she can always prove me wrong if I correct her. Charming.
-she was always easily manipulated by guilt as a kid. For example, if all of us were going somewhere without my mom, Amy would stay home because she felt bad about leaving Mom by herself. (Then she got smart and refused to fall for our tricks... not that staying at home with mom was a trick... okay, this is deteriorating quickly... moving on.)
-if she knows you want something, she's going to make you beg for it or at least provide food. "PLEASE come downstairs and talk to me while I pack for college." "Are there chips? No? Then no."
-she does her own thing (in a good way.) Case in point: she doesn't wear jewelry, or high heels. (I know... how are we related?) But no matter how many times we beg her to "put on a necklace for crying out loud!" or remind her that "men seldom make passes at flat-heeled lasses" (a family joke from an old movie that I am snickering about even as I write this), she refuses to do something just because we (and, you know, society) want her to. Sometimes she's stubborn, but I am too often a people-pleaser so I can appreciate this about her.
I could go on and on, but I'll stop. If this list sounds a little scattered it's because Amy is not that easy to describe. I've always called her an emotionally complex little person, and she can be. She's just more to herself, unlike the rest of us who love to share our feelings (lucky us.) But thank goodness that our little anchor is (mostly) emotionally stable for the rest of the gang. I am so proud of her. She loves Jesus, loves our family, and means more to me than she could ever know.
So, little one, don't say I never did anything for you. (And really... would it kill you to put on some wedges? I'm just sayin.) Just kidding... happy birthday, Amy Jane! How old are you- like, 12?
Ash (your new favorite)