If ever the story of an ugly duckling turning into a beautiful swan were told in the human world, it would be about my sister, Kassidie. Sad, but true.
When Kassidie was a baby, she sho’ was ugly. But at about four years old as my mom and I were posing her in front of a blooming lilac bush for a picture we both seemed to think the same thing and said aloud, “Wow, Kassidie is pretty today!” Call it mean or call it honesty, but she has always had a great personality, just an awkward baby and toddler stage. I wish I had pictures to show you so you wouldn’t think me a horrible brother for saying such things.
One of the things Kassidie has always been good at is making you feel guilty for not wanting to do something with her. Even at the age of two she would sweetly ask if you wanted to play the card game ‘Go Fish’ and if you didn’t she would scream, “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I’m going to go KILL myself!” before scurrying off to her room and slamming the door. Seriously, I wish I was making this up. According to her husband, she no longer announces that particular line, but still manages to convince him to do what she wants to do.
As a teenager, she was a rebel, and not without good reason. Okay, so really as a ten to twelve year old she was, so really preteen. I had already moved out of the house and was living with my husband at the time so I didn’t witness too much of the rebellion. But her and I have always been close, even though as youngsters she would bite me and I would claw her with my fingernails to pry her mouth off my arm. Again, she took ‘Go Fish’ very seriously. And we both still have scars. Part of me still wonders if her violent tendencies stemmed from the fact that her imaginary friends were Freddy Kruger and Jason, both horror movie villains, due mostly in part because we watched a lot of horror movies as a family.
Anyway, we started hanging out a lot around the time she was thirteen and our little brother K.C. was eight. During this time we would talk about everything, make meals together and play games, stuff families usually do that she didn’t really have the opportunity to explore because she was suddenly thrust into the matriarchal role when it came to our little brother. I don’t know many teenagers who’d willingly take that on, but my sister did so amazingly. It was also during this time she began to explore religion and at sixteen decided to become a Jehovah’s Witness, much to the chagrin of most of the family. At the time I didn’t understand her decision, but a few years later it became apparent her reasons for doing so were justified after a court trial and family feud that is still stewing to this day.
And just recently she became a mother to a beautiful baby girl. Of course, the fifty-two hour labor after her water broke ordeal may impede on a quick second child, but I have no doubt she will be a great mom.
So while I know you don’t celebrate birthdays, I’m wishing you one anyway. Happy Birthday, Kassidie! May you continue to be a beacon of inspiration in my life and everyone who surrounds you!