I said goodbye to two important people in my life today.
The first was my friend Ed…
Ed is really special, and he had a fitting send-off today in San Francisco. He’s brilliant — on his way to Harvard to get his master’s degree in urban planning. A true public transit geek (and I mean that as a huge compliment).
Words fail me when I try to describe Ed. But here are a few I scraped up, that do well when paired with his name:
- Dim sum
- Ginger ale
- Margaret Cho
Okay, I just love Ed. I love him so much, he married Trent and I (see that picture up there again). And now he’s gone to the cold North. I made him promise me he’d get a proper winter coat. And that he’d get America running on public transit for me.
However, I know some of my bestest buds — like Cindy and Julie — are gonna take good care of him while he rises to stardom in Beantown. So I gotta let him go.
The other person I said goodbye to today was already absent from my life on a daily basis. It was more me giving my blessing on her next life adventure, but it was a REALLY big deal…
My little sister, Sarah Jane, left for law school at American University in Washington, D.C. And I couldn’t attend her going-away party, because it took place 2,500 miles away, back home in Detroit.
Sarah will be the best kind of lawyer. She’s doing it for all the right reasons. She cares deeply about people (all people) and this country, and she wants to fight injustice everywhere she sees it. Funny thing is, she has the right combination of strength, intelligence, and undying determination to actually be successful in a quest like that.
It’s equally hard to put into words all that I’m feeling about Sarah’s departure. But of course, once again, I did anyway. I sent a speech, and had my mom read it to Sarah at her party:
“I’m not there today, as you all can tell by now. This truly saddens me, but someone told me there wasn’t going to be a party because ‘Sarah’s friends were throwing her a party’ and not to bother coming so I didn’t book a ticket and now there IS a party and I’m not there. Hmm…
So, rather than videotape myself and ask Munga to figure out an A/V setup (FAIL!), I’ve decided to keep it simple and have her read a message to Sarah from me, her older sister.
Sarah, I know I haven’t always been a perfect sister to you. I know sisters are supposed to be a lot girlier and lighthearted than we are. They’re supposed to laugh with each other and share secrets and talk about boys and go shopping and stuff like that. We aren’t that way. We were that way for a while when we were young (you probably don’t even remember those times), but then things changed.
From the time Dad died, I treated you differently. You still had a mom but you didn’t have a dad, and that’s a big deal when you’re the ages we were. I felt protective of you and I didn’t want to laugh or talk about boys: I just wanted to make sure you were okay in life. I felt like I had to be an example for you. I tried to be good at things so you would want to be good at things. I wanted to be a role model for you the way Dad had been for me. YOU motivated me to success in life (or rather, YOU made me a nerd), and now you’re about to be a bigger success (read: NERD) than I’ll ever dream of becoming.
Somewhere in the midst of all that, I became kinda serious. And I forgot to be sisterly by the true definition of the word. And I’m sorry for that.
But for all the times I failed you as a sister – I failed to hang out with you and your friends or get your jokes or be interested in your dramas or go to the bar with you or just didn’t “get it” – know that no one (maybe not even Munga!) is more proud of your achievements as a human being. You have accomplished everything I knew you could, and more. I ALWAYS believed you had a special strength, resilience, determination, and understanding of what the world truly needs. I saw this when we were both young: when we were seeing the world with fresh eyes together. It’s those qualities that always made me feel so protective of you.
But really, you never needed my protection. Because more than that, you are all the things I’m not: you are bold, funny, carefree, flexible, messy (heh)… And as such, you’ve figured out how to be the best kind of nerd.
In short, I love you, and I will always look up to you. So don’t forget to make me head of the EPA some day.”
Together, my sister and Ed are going to save the world. And I’m going to kick back and say I knew them when… [not going to insert anything embarrassing, don’t worry].
Hopefully, I’ll at least have a decent guest room in this house to offer them at some point. They deserve at least that much.