I started out my speech on Saturday night not with a cheesy definition – especially because Sarah’s name means ‘Princess’ and I’ve spent the last 21 years denying that fact, despite her reminding me at every chance she gets. Instead, I pointed out that ‘Sarah’ backwards is ‘Harass’, just spelt a little bit wrong and I think that sums her up very well.
Over the years I’ve noticed that Sarah pretends as though she is meek and mild with her friends and ‘in public’. She seems very reserved and quiet but she is actually an enormous extrovert, extremely funny and extremely annoying.
There are not many weekend mornings (or weekdays, when I really think about it) that I’m not woken up by Sarah tip-toeing into my room – never as quiet as she thinks she is – and jumping on me. Harass is the perfect word for what she does because she is almost always there, wanting attention and knocking over every single thing in my room (I’ve never met anyone who has the level of clumsiness she has). The thing is, if Sarah wants your attention, she will not stop until she gets it.
I remember a very quiet night in 2004 as I lay in my bed in a tent in the middle of Darwin. We were staying in a caravan park very close to the airport but it wasn’t a plane taking off that woke me up at midnight – it was Sarah’s screaming. She had a sore ear, you see, and she wasn’t going to let anyone within a 10km radius sleep until someone paid her some attention. Eventually, Mum and Dad drove us to the hospital and, while Dad and I were waiting for her and Mum to return to the waiting room, Dad treated me to a chocolate bar from the vending machine. The way that Sarah remembers this nigh is that she got the raw end of the deal because she didn’t get a chocolate bar.
Despite wanting your attention, there were times when she was younger when she would try her hardest not to let you know she had got herself into a spot of bother. There were many dinner times when we waited at the table for her for quite some time before we would hear a little voice calling out from some obscure place in the house ‘I’M STUCK!!’ as she’d got herself wedged in tight places trying to hide or simply just seeing if she would fit somewhere odd. But she’s never as good at hiding and staying quiet as she thinks she is which manifests in her complete inability to keep a secret. Lucky for you, if you ever tell Sarah anything confidential, she only ever tells me and I am far better at keeping secrets.
School was a pretty hard gig for Sarah with her combo deal of both ADD and Dyslexia – so it’s pretty impressive that she did so well in the HSC, especially considering she didn’t want to go to year 12 in the first place. She did it to make Dad proud and she definitely did just that, even surprising herself and asking us if we thought they’d somehow got her results mixed up with someone else’s.
Of course, it helps to have a sister like me that can help her out in a tight spot with writing essays or even something as small as a birthday card. In fact, if you’ve ever received a birthday card from Sarah, surprise! She might have made the card but I wrote it and I really wish you all the best for every birthday you’ve ever had.
While she struggled with the academic side of things, she excelled in the practical side of life. I am an academic-minded person and there are many times when Sarah looks at me and shakes her head at my inability to do simple things – like boil an egg. She has got life down-pat thanks to her determination and what I like to call her street smarts.
We were raised to believe that we could be anything we wanted to be and while Sarah is currently pursuing a world record in binge-watching Netflix, she also has a pretty impressive resume. She doesn’t mind trying her hand at anything. This obviously annoys me greatly because I’m quite the opposite, so she shows me up every time.
As a sisterhood, we were set up for disappointment. As a 3-year-old, I didn’t have much of a concept of what it meant to get a baby sister – the only frame of reference I had was a Baby Born doll, something that I had wanted for a long time. I was convinced I was getting one, so when we went to the hospital, where I presumed they made the Baby Born dolls, I was beside myself when I realised it was a tiny, crying, real baby. No thanks.
From then on, I have been a classic big sister; blaming things on Sarah, teasing her and generally being a bit rude most of the time. In fact, this speech is going to give me a big issue because it’s definitely the nicest I’ve been to her… maybe ever. She’ll not let me live it down.
But we do spend a lot of time together – from getting our nails to cheesy movie nights and plenty of arguments – and I have to say, for not wanting a sister in the first place, she’s a pretty good option. So, Happy Birthday Sarah!