23 years ago today I walked home from school as usual. We lived in a fairly small village and I was 7 and a half, so you know quite a big girl (or I thought so anyway). Mum wasn’t at home instead my Papa and Dad were at home and apparently Mum was staying somewhere else and we were going to go and visit her. We went to visit Mum at Cresswell Maternity Hospital and I got to meet my little sister for the very first time. She was in a funny plastic cot thing because she was too cold. The next day though she was in a normal sort of room with Mum and everyday after school that week I got to go visit them. I remember lots of cards and happy faces. I got a special magazine with a doll that went on adventures (Vicky perhaps) and another family friend gave me a pair of earrings. I was confused as I had no idea why they were giving me a present and I didn’t have my ears pierced, anyway I had the best thing of all I had a little sister.
The day after my sister was born my headteacher came into the classroom. She was very excited for me and asked if my new baby sister had a name. I said yes but it is a secret. Whether or not my parents meant it was a secret or not I don’t know but it made my class and teachers laugh. Apparently whilst Mum was pregnant I had also told my Gran that whatever my parents name the baby it would be nothing to do with her. I don’t remember this but it does make people laugh.
Because of the age gap I have pretty good memories of my baby sister. When she first started talking I was ‘Bam’. I used to send toddler Katharine to go get a chocolate biscuit for me because I knew I wouldn’t be allowed a second one but Katharine would willingly get it for me. When I was in my final year at school Katharine would join my friends and I for lunch on Saturdays and my friends loved my very cute wee sister. I left home when Katharine was 10 for University in Aberdeen. I think in some ways she quite liked being able to say that she had a much older sister who lived away up North and did different things. I think when I worked in retail at the airport she had her class convinced I was something cool like an air hostess or something. We missed each other but I think we had a lot more fun when we did get together. She came to stay with me for a week after she turned 14 and it was brilliant. A fancy haircut, a new wardrobe, hanging about with my uni friends.
After I graduated I moved back home for 8 months. We shared a room. Teenage Katharine and a restless me was an interesting combination (!). I headed abroad just as Katharine was going into the most intense years at school. For 2 years our main way of communication was many emails. I definitely missed my sister and on a visit home I didn’t recognise her at the airport. She had grown far too much, her hair was chopped short and she was grown up. She told me in the car I smelled different.
Whilst I was out in Hong Kong my sister worked and saved her money and flew out to visit me for a week. She was 17 and in 6th year at school. I think everyone was pretty impressed. That was a very good week. We had a huge amount of fun.
When I came back to the UK and went to do my Masters, Katharine was going to be starting her first year of her undergraduate. We decided to live together. That was a very interesting year!
I think we made the best decision. We bonded, we laughed, we cried, we shouted, we sang, we danced, we fell over, we worked hard, we had a few lazy days. We became best of friends once again.
I don’t think anyone can wind me up as much as she can… but then I probably do the exact same back to her. I don’t think anyone can look at my face and read me as well as Katharine does. I think Katharine probably makes me laugh more than anyone else. No-one else insults me the way she does or supports me when others insults me. We don’t look an awful lot like each other. We are different in a lot of ways. I don’t share her love of Pizza and she does not share my love of chocolate. My sister is beautiful, clever, strong minded, and funny. I will always be her big sister and I am very, very happy that she is my wee sister.
Happy Birthday Katharine xxxxx