Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Cool Older Sister and the Bad Hair Decade

The other night Jason and I were talking about kids because we'd like to have some, and I asked him which gender he'd like to have first. He said he didn't really care as long as they were healthy.  I agreed, but went on to discuss which gender made the best "older sibling."  I decided upon females because they are more nurturing.  Jason said I felt that way because I had only known an older sister and I'd had a good experience (he is an oldest sibling himself).

This was so true.  Immediately a thousand memories came barreling through my thoughts - memories of my wonderful experience as the little sister of an older sister. I alluded to a few of these memories in a post a while back

I don't know about you, but my growing up years were fraught with awkwardness.  I had big, frizzy hair because my mom didn't realize it was naturally curly and she blew it out every morning, making for the fro of the century.  I had the worst air stylist in the world as well and so my fro usually looked like an gigantic tent on top of my head (except for my brief mullet phase). Take thick, frizzy hair and put it smack in the middle of one of the most humid places on earth (Panama City, FL) and that makes for a lot of ponytails in my day.  I think I had one good hair day a year, sometime in January.

My sis (center) back in the day.

My sister, who had blissfully thin, straight hair would often try to help me with mine.  She'd tease up my bangs as was the style of the day and help me look "cool" for school picture day.  She'd even let me borrow her super stylish high school clothes, although I'm not sure anyone ever noticed my hip attire with that gigantic mop on top of my head. It helped me feel better, though, and if I got made fun of, it wasn't so bad because my sister was most likely way cooler than theirs.  

In the 6th grade the worst thing imaginable happened for someone with thick, frizzy hair. I got lice from a friend at school. It took us a while to figure it out, but once we did I was mortified.  Julie had taken me to a fancy hair stylist to try to do something new and better with my hair and they discovered it there.  They hurriedly ushered us out of the salon, and as we made our way back to her car I started to cry.  Julie hugged me (even with the new residents in my hair) and told me it would be okay.  We told Mom and Dad, and they got what we needed from the store. It was my sister who washed my hair with that horrible smelling shampoo and combed it with that tiny little comb...which took hours.  My dad threatened to shave my head if I didn't cooperate and looking back, that might have been the best approach.  After countless tears, tangles and broken combs, however, we got it.

Right after I got engaged.

And not too long after that I discovered the magic of Pantene styling mousse which made tiny, bouncy curls explode from my head.  Still not ideal for a middle school girl who longed for the straight and easy hair of her older sister, but a definite improvement from what used to be. 

Hanging at the Botanical Gardens in Huntsville
This story is just one of many about my amazing older sister (6 years older to be exact) who stepped in again and again to make my awkward tween and teen years less awkward. She took care of me when I was sick, hugged me when my little heart got broken, let me wear all of her clothes and even shared her Michael Jackson and REO Speedwagon cassettes.

"The Hurkey" in Julie's backyard

So Jason was right.  Having an older sister is all I know and my experience was pretty great.  But if Jason and I are blessed with kids and we have a girl first, I'm going to do my best to teach her to be a good big sister.  And I know just who to ask for pointers!


  1. Awww, this post is wonderful! There is nothing like a sister!

  2. Well, this is a bit of an exaggeration, I think. You and your sister were the happiest kids that I have ever known (and I have known thousands of kids because of my career in edcuation) and your hair was pretty cute most of the time. The head lice episode was pretty tramatic; your hair was not conducive to the treatments and I don't know what I would have done without your sister's help...but it wasn't so bad. It made us more sympathetic to those students who got head lice because we had suffered through the ordeal. I do wish I had known that a little mousse was the answer! I spent more time blowing that mop dry and curling it than any mother that I have ever known. It does provide for lots of laughter now that we look back at the years of your "big hair" and listen to you describe it. However, you didn't know it was so big until you got older and looked at your pictures so it wasn't so bad at the time. I think you were and still are BEAUTIFUL, inside and out!! I love you, Mom

  3. We have pictures, Mom. PROOF! Mark busted out laughing the first time he saw it and it was at Christmas when I was supposed to be having "good" hair days.

    You're just feeling bad because you took me to Flo the awful hair stylist for so many years. :) But you are absolutely right - we were VERY happy and had a wonderful childhood. With big hair. ;)