I never had a big sister, but growing up, I always looked to my cousin Nancy as my surrogate big sister. I remember watching her when she was in high school. As a kid, I wanted to be like her. When their family moved to Cornelia Street, just two blocks from our house, I was happy that they were all so close to us.
She had a poster of Joe Namath, who played for the New York Jets, on her bedroom wall. That was the beginning of my interest in football, although I admit not so much until I moved to the South and Kelly went to a big football school.
Nancy and her husband Charlie moved into the beautiful house with the scary driveway on Boonton Avenue. That driveway ranked up there with driving up Main Street in the learning-to-drive world, because I had to drive to their house as part of my driver’s education class.
When Jennifer was born, I thought Nancy had the perfect life. To a kid eight years her junior, I wanted to someday have what she had—a nice house and beautiful children.
When I started dating Daddy, I remember talking to her and my cousin Janice about him because I had some doubts. I don’t remember the exact conversations, but they convinced me to give him a chance, which was obviously good advice.
Dad and I still talk about babysitting for Christina when she was just three months old. That day, Nancy gave her corn for the first time and it did not agree with her. We placed her in her swing, which seemed to soothe her and helped us get through the evening until she and Charlie got home.
When we got married, they let us use their park-like backyard for our photographs. That setting was the go-to spot for so many wedding photos.
But two of you don’t need a surrogate big sister. Only Kelly and I never had a big sister. I am thinking that Kelly, as the biggest cousin of our family, probably does not have a surrogate. Uh oh. We need to find you one. It’s never too late.