Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Tribute to the Siblings

Who are, in fact, right up there on the list of my Favorite people in this world.
I am the youngest of five siblings, three older sisters and one brother. I also have three cousins that make it into the category, having moved here when I was five at which time they joined the ranks of older, sometimes tormenting but mostly nice, sibling figures.Starting with the youngest and going up, here is a summary of the coolest people ever.

Rose: also known as Rosie Posie puddin'n'pie
Rose is four years older than me. People think we are twins a lot of the time. People have been asking which of us was older since I was twelve and Rose was sixteen. This, I thought, was pretty cool. Mostly it just pissed her off, especially when they just assumed I was older. Rose and I shared a room straight from the time I was two until she moved away to college. We had some pretty interesting adventures during those thirteen years, including, but not limited to:
-contracts we wrote ourselves in an attempt to iron out, ahem, shall we say, artistic differences
-loud racous laughter (or fighting) in the middle of the night, followed by the ineveitable, "Crap, dad's coming!"
-arguments over who owned the toy, or the book, or the clothing item. (they were all mine. promise.)
-random acts of kindness. this usually included a surprise made bed, which both of us would usually redo because it was done wrong. but, hey, it's the thought that counts, right?
-Rose reluctantly allowing me to tag along when we went to play at Jessica's house. I am pretty sure I was as annoying and demanding as a little sister could be, but she was pretty nice about it.
That is really the thing I admire most about Rose. No matter how annoying or rude I was, or how much I thought I didn't need or want it, she was always there taking care of me. We fought a lot, but the memories that stand out are the times she forgave everything and made sure I was okay. Like the time I was six and had this awful fear of centipedes and I was sure, SURE, that there was a centipede in my bed. When I woke her up crying she turned on the light and helped me take all the bedding off my bed and look for small insects instead of telling me I was oversensitive. Or the time I was four and got bit in the face by a yappy little demon dog and she held my hand all the way home while I cried. Or the time in kindergarten when she and Alex both thought I was walking home with the other one and left me at school and she ran all the way back to get me when they realized I was still at school, having been instructed never to walk home alone. Or the time I was fourteen and came home from losing an academic team match I really wanted to win and she hugged me and told me it would be fine. Really, there are so many times I was really annoyed with her and kind of rude and critical. Although I'd like to think I am a nicer person now than when we were growing up in the same room, there are still times when I am pretty sharp with her. The thing she is really good at is forgiving people even when they don't say sorry, specifically me. I am amazed by her loving spirit. She is always willing to serve.

 Alex: also known as Alligator, or, he who is not to be crossed unless you want to get squished.
I am pretty sure growing up in the middle of four, sometimes unmerciful, sisters and surviving qualifies my brother for champion status. Alex did, however, get some hero worship from said sisters, specifically me. Alex had that super-protective thing with us, even Erin and Bekah. His philosophy was that no one was allowed to beat up on us but him. I remember walking home from school in Kindergarten with my brother and all the neighborhood boys, of whom he was sort of the ringleader, being the biggest and most able to beat people up. He could do anything he wanted to me, but if any of them did anything they were dead. It was the same with Rose. I think he was in fourth grade and she was in Kindergarten when some poor unfortunate soul named Petri ( the name was probably part of the problem) decided to follow Rose around the playground hitting her with an umbrella. Petri quickly found himself lying on his back in the rock pit. The truth was I was always a little jealous that Alex never beat anybody up for me, although he did offer to once when I was in fifth grade and had a rather scary stalker. Alex was always the cool one. There always seemed to be a power triangle with Alex, Rose, and I. The rule was whoever was on Alex's side won. Alex taught me a lot in my youth. When I was five, he taught me how to wrestle. Seriously. I was not too shabby either if I do say so myself. Cody and Ray ran away from me more than once, a fact I was proud of. When we got older, Alex schooled me in the art of cartoons. Gargoyles, anyone? This continued into teenage years. I learned a lot from him- things like Metallica and Stargate and Seaquest and X-Men and Jeff Foxworthy and Pablo Francisco and that Mr. Brough was the reason for the Ninth grade and the really great things like playing hide and seek in the catwalks at school. Alex also has some pipes on him. Seriously talented. Phantom of the Opera has always been a staple in the Robinson household. When I was teensy he could sing Christine's part. I vaguely remember the high A's coming from my brother. But by the time he was in High school he had developed some serious tenor power. Probably my favorite memories with Alex include the hours I spent in his room in the wee hours of the morning blasting Phantom and singing together. I am convinced that Alex is at least as talented as Michael Crawford. His phantom is pretty great. The evil laughing is especially excellent. If only he like singing in front of people. He could be famous, no joke. I have spent an incredible amount of time and energy in my life trying to impress Alex. Okay, trying to be Alex. We have this joke that Alex is the Jedi Master, and he calls me his Padiwan learner. When Alex moved to Phoenix he promoted me to Jedi Master and charged me with the responsibility of training our nephew in the ways of the Force. Matthew knows it too. Alex can rest assured the knowledge is being passed down. (Matthew is currently being instructed in the noble art of pranking. Saran wrap over the toilet seat and all that.) One of the things I love most about Alex is that he is the number one person who understands me. We have had a lot of the same problems in life. (I guess I succeeded in being like him, right?)  The thing is, he was a teenager first, so when I started going through a lot of the same things he did and had no idea how to handle them, I did what Alex did. Now that he lives in Phoenix, we don't talk as much as we used to, but when I struggle I call Alex. He just gets it. The times he comes home to visit are the most hilarious periods of my life, as well as everyone else in the family. He is the life of the party. Like the time he was home for new years and we played a game of Figure Eight monopoly that lasted thirteen hours and Alex, ever armed with an IPod, played theme songs for every person every turn. My ribs hurt so bad from laughing so much. (He is big on theme songs. Mine is "Mr. Hanky" from South Park. It doesn't really have anything to do with me. He just plays it because I hate it.) Or the time we had a brown recluse living inside the speakers in the living room and he and James stayed up all night with bb guns and hockey sticks going 'spider hunting'. Or the time I watched TAPS with him in the middle of the night and I was crying really hard at the end and he hugged me voluntarily (which was a big deal). Or the time he and I and Rose woke up at two thirty on Christmas Morning and watched Power Rangers while shaking all the presents. Or all the times he dumped pitchers of ice-cold water on my head while I was in the shower. Or how he can speed and never get caught or how he changes lanes in the middle of an intersection or how he wears his designer sunglasses on the back of his head or how he has a mohawk and pulls it off. He is the most hilarious person I know and also the most caring brother I could ask for. (He'll probably punch me for being mushy.) I love my brother a whole heap.

Amy: also known as big Amy, Big fat amy, best twin of the universe, etc
Amy is my cousin, and I stole her name. She might as well be my sister, though. Really the only reason I ever tell people she is my cousin instead of my sister is because we have the same name and that really needs some explaining if we are actually siblings, you know? Amy moved here when I was five. She gave me a bracelet which spelled out twins/amy in beads, and I was sold. She was my new hero. She and her brothers, Daniel and James (whom we will discuss in detail late) lived with aunt becky in their grandmother's house. We had some great times in that house, most specifically on the porch swing in the back. That thing was a classic, and it is amazing how many people you can fit on a good solid porch swing. After she graduated from high school Amy moved in with us and brought the porch swing. Thus ensued some good times. Phone conversations, especially, grew rather interesting.
Can I talk to Amy?
Which one?
Amy Robinson. (by now they are thinking, what the heck?)
Yeah. Which one?
Umm. She's nineteen.( Who are these people?)
Okay. Here she is.
Okay. (Finally. Freaks)
By the time she moved out people were actually asking for the amy of a specific age automatically. When Amy moved out of our house, she moved in with Grandpa who lived in Sugar House. Erin already lived with Grandpa while going to the U and Amy followed the trend.  They were pretty obsessed with taking care of Grandpa and keeping the house clean. The best times of this Era included some pretty wild rice krispy treat making parties following cleaning parties. Amy basically helped me define my life while we scrubbed Grandpa's kitchen floor with Pine-sol and indoctrinated me with some pretty good movies late at night downstairs. We also had some pretty good times at Yaunney's which is the best greek food place ever. (Minus the Olympian grill which doesn't count because it closed. woe is me.) She also loves, LOVES, road trips and sometimes takes me with her, which I love too. (We'll get into that more in the Daniel section.)  But I'd have to say that my favorite thing to do with Amy is taking trips to the H-Rock. Hiking up in the dark the back way can get pretty exciting, and so can sliding down the rocky terrain the front way without a flash light. I almost died. But the best part is just sitting up at the top watching the sunset or the stars and figuring out life. Amy and the H-rock have helped me figure out a  lot of things. That is where I make my major life decisions, and that is where Amy has taught me a lot about picking something you love and following through with it, and overcoming the obstacles along the way. Probably my favorite thing about Amy is that she is a self-admitted masochistic over-achiever. She is not happy unless she is killing herself getting things done. She is very talented at making things work out. Amy finished her degree in Elementary education when she was barely twenty one, taught a year of school (wherein she dealt with the little hellions in an admirable manner. Admirable for her is loving and giving each one her best attention and effort. Admirable for me would just be not killing the little brats.), and then went on a mission to Korea. When she came home she renewed her teaching license and is now on her fourth year ( I think) of teaching, and she hasn't even killed one yet! She is a finisher. She gets it done if it kills her. Well, not kills but takes a considerable physical toll. We joke about her summer clothes and winter clothes. These aren't so much different levels of warming effectiveness so much as different sizes. Amy gets so busy and obsessed with school that she forgets to eat on a fairly consistent basis and usually loses a lot of weight during the school year. That is dedication. Maybe unhealthy dedication, but dedication nonetheless. She has taught me a lot about working hard and not holding back, and I admire her for that.

Daniel: aka big D, oh he who owns a Miata, etc.
Daniel is one of the coolest cousin/brothers ever. Not that I have that many of them. Anyway, Daniel is one of my favorite people to have deep conversations with. He has really interesting ideas about things and they are usually pretty thought-provoking. He knows a lot about politics and business and most everything I know about both of those things comes from him. Daniel is really smart and really strategic. Once upon a time he tried to teach me how to play chess.  (that kind of bombed. The only thing I really know about chess is the horse shaped ones move in L shapes.) Chess lessons were given up in lieu of the simpler, fairly idiot proof Battleship. When I was little I would beg Daniel and James to give me shoulder rides, and Daniel would spin with me on his shoulders while I begged for him to stop. (when really that was exactly what I wanted, which he knew perfectly well.) Daniel is very schooled in the art of sarcasm, which is code for a good liar. The great things is that he always talks this way so a lot of the time it is impossible to tell if he is being serious or just lying his butt of and being super-convincing about it. He actually convinced Erin once that the stop signs with white borders are optional. wow. The summer after my junior year, I went to Virginia with my family and Daniel happened to be road tripping across the country at the time, so he met us for a few days while we toured the Mall and went all over D.C. I had some pretty good conversations with Daniel here. I remember talking for a long time sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and thinking it was a really good night. There was also the time we were driving in the miata, which is always something to be enjoyed, and I was ranting a little bit about a stalker I'd just gotten rid of by being really mean. After telling the whole story, Daniel gave me some pretty good advice. Apparently, "boys always appreciate straight-upness." This has been a very useful insight into the male psyche. One of the things I love most about Daniel is how much he loves Amy. He is such a good brother. Once upon a time probably ten years ago Amy, who has thick curly beautiful hair, decided to have it straightened and cut into layers, which was also gorgeous. When she walked into the house, Daniel turned around and said, "Whoa. better call heaven, there's an angel loose!" Ask any girl, that's better than buying flowers. And you know those text messages you just can't ever erase?
From Daniel:
We just want u to drop out so u can be happy. We just want ur happyness.
Here is a text for you. This will help your battery die faster.
Don't ever erase this, ever.
Once upon a time right before I graduated I was still swamped with homework and stressed out and crying and Amy and Daniel told me to calm down and then took me to Wendy's. There,a fter the crying and venting was done, they told me about a road trip they were taking to South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore and other various unsundry locations. I ended up tagging along. While we were driving over some mountain range and I was wishing for death in the backseat, Daniel sends the following:
why are u dead ( I'm not. I just wish I was)
then talk to us ( no. shut up.)
well at least we don't have to hear ur shrill whine (thanks, dan)

Erin: also pronounced as ee:rine the dee:vine
Erin went to Princess School, and it shows. Not that she is a princess in the annoying, preppy kind of way. Not at all. She is a lady and an admirable one at that. Erin is just smart, filled with good ideas and common sense. But she still has it in her to get into a good laughing fit in the middle of the night. She has adventures in the true sense of the word. Let's review a few of said adventures:
- There was the time Erin didn't really know how to drive a stick shift. She had to meet the family at our cousin's house in Pleasant Grove and the only car available was the Cressida. So daddy told her she better learn quick if she wanted to come.  So she taught herself to shift out of necessity, and also the fear of death. That's pretty cool in my book.
- Once upon a time we were all at home and mom and dad were not. Ahh. I am not sure how this happened, even now, but somehow Erin ended up walking on the top of the railing, which is, by the way, just above the split level and a good ten feet in the air.
- There was the time Erin was asked to a dance the day of, while she was doing yard work. So we 'entertained' the boy while she showered and got ready. A date of that spontaneity is pretty brave. If someone had done that to me, I would not have said yes.
She was usually the one to call the sibling conferences in her room, which would inevitably end in racous laughter. She has a pure soprano voice that makes lullabies beautiful and a heart of gold that brings out all the beautiful things in other people. Erin is the most generous, hard working, and loving person you will ever meet. She also has a talent for knowing herself well and seeing things very clearly. If I am not sure how I feel about something, I ask Erin for feedback. Most of my opinions about important things have been influenced by Erin's strong convictions. Erin is very talented. She is the resident flower arranger of the family and made every boutonniere of every boy I went to a dance with in High School. She also singlehandedly did the flowers for Rose's wedding with a four year old which I thought was pretty talented. She is very good at keeping a level head in stressful situations, like the time she was driving on a date and got in an accident and stayed calm or the time she got in an accident and the other woman tried to break into her car. She locked her door and called the police: I probably would have wet my pants. She is a wonderful gardener. She can actually get vegetables to grow, which is more than I have ever been able to do. She is really good at making decisions and sticking by them. She has one of the greatest marriages I have seen in my life, and she is really good at teamwork (mostly with Ben, who is another one of my favorite people). She is a wonderful mother. I remember telling her when I was little that I was sorry for her kids, pretty spitefully. How very shortsighted I was. She is a fabulous mom. One of the things I appreciate most about her is that she pushes me to grow and be this day, I am sure she is the reason I made it into Madrigals. for one thing, she was in Madrigals when I was four. I remember quite clearly going to mad family night and thinking, "I want to do this."  The day before I tried out for madrigals I was so nervous I was pretty sure I would puke. She spent the whole afternoon and night with me coaching me on my song. It was one of the most uncomfortable, out of my box, want to go hide in a closet, days of my life, but by the end I felt so much more confident. She quite literally forced me to sing with power. And she also told me that my life wouldn't be over if I wasn't brilliant. I really needed that. She and Ben helped me decide what to do about college and figured it out with me. She has taught me so much about growing up and taking responsibility for yourself and your decisions. I have a strong conviction that you should pick something and do it, and own whatever you do. A lot of that came from her example. Erin says she feels like she is only pretending to be a responsible adult, but if she is, she is doing a pretty good job of faking.

James: also known as jam-ess or the master of the zombie plan
James is a dangerous man. When all the hype about zombie plans started, I decided that I didn't really need one. My complete zombie plan is: find James and stand behind him. That should do it. James is also the man who lives off carbs. He eats toast (mostly at my house, as he claims we have the magic toaster that makes the best toast ever. okay.) and french toast, and waffles, and rolls. He also consumes large amounts of frosted flakes( he calls them crusted flakes) and milk, but never together. Apparently, he learned to eat cereal dry while living in North Carolina where the milk is yellow, and the habit stuck. James has taught me a lot about life, and when I say life I mean Babylon 5 and Firefly. ( 2 of the best series ever.) Every year during high school my parents took a weeklong cruise for their anniversary, and I was not allowed to stay at home by myself because mom worries about rapists and murderers and things. So, instead of making me go live with my sisters for the week, mom asked James to come babysit. And the yearly party begins. James is a great babysitter. It became a tradition for James to make pancakes, which I was always pretty excited for because James is the pancake master, and then we would watch Babylon 5. The first time we did this, I didn't do any homework the whole week but I watched four seasons of Babylon 5. James, like Amy, is a masochistic workaholic. I think this stems from an ingrained need to do what he says he will do. He has very high expectations of himself and he meets them. James is a very good man with a lot of integrity. I admire him for that. A lot.

Last but never least, comes Bekah: also known as Beaker, or the Drugdealer
Bekah is the oldest. She is thirteen years older than me and has sort of been my second mom my whole life. she is the most selfless, caring person I know. Bekah is sort of the service guru- I think she spends her whole life taking care of everybody. She is the best listener. Some might say this quality is its own reward. If this is true, Bek got screwed because I am pretty sure that being the person everyone in the family vents to and takes their problems to is sort of sucky at times. I think sometimes that I punish her for being the best at listening just because I am annoying to listen to. She must get tired of the whining.  But man is she good at making us all feel better. Bekah has taken care of me my whole life. One of my earliest memories is being upset because she was moving away to college. I am pretty sure when we dropped her off in Ephraim that I cried pretty hard most of the way home.  When she came home, life was complete. My childhood memories are filled with bekah taking me shopping, bekah taking me with her to get her nails done, bekah buying me a curling iron jsut because she knew I wanted one, bekah not killing me when I almost killed her child, bekah driving to my house to let me in when I locked myself out of the house, bekah coaching me through breathing excercises while I hyperventilated in her living room. Mostly she is my best friend and I love her.
Bekah is super talented:
-She paints. Aunt Bonnie gave her lessons and she gave me a picture of a puppy she painted when she moved away to college so that I would feel better. There is actually a painting of a flower she did that has hung above our toilet my whole life. I think I got toothpaste on it once.
- She is really good at math and science. She just has that sort of analytical brain, the lucky stiff. She sat through two hours of a hysteria once trying to help me understand how to name compounds. I would never have passed chemistry without her.
- She scrapbooks. super creatively. like the kind of thing I wish I could pull off so bad I almost don't want to look at the scrapbooks. Almost.
-She makes the best pasta salad I've ever put in my mouth. Hands down.
- She is a great mother. Matthew got lucky. Just sayin.
Bekah is also a pharmacy technician, just in case anyone thought she was a real drug dealer. Not really. Just the person we all call to make sure we are not overdosing on anything. Or to make sure the doctor hasn't just prescribed something that will cause death, among other side effects. Which has happened before. The prescribing part, not the death part. No thanks to him.
I have so much more love in my heart for this woman than is possible to write. That is all.

Sum uppance: My siblings are the greatest people alive. I like them. A lot.
* Note for spouses, parents, and children of said siblings. I love you too. Your turn is coming.

1 comment:

thank you for validating my existence, you lovely person!