Last spring, I was talking with my sister, and during our conversation I realized that even though we have lived far apart for the past ten-plus years I had celebrated some of her significant birthdays with her.
Of course, we lived near each other for the first 22 years of her life, so I did all those birthdays. And she was with me on a trip to London when she turned 21, so we celebrated that birthday with a pint.
2000: Here we are on the steps of Oxford--little 21 year old Andrea (with 24 year old me who had somehow become responsible for taking 30 students to London and Paris).
Then when Andrea turned 25, my mom flew me to visit her in Florida. I was six months pregnant, and I gained 10 pounds in the Florida humidity. But it was totally worth it.
2004: Hello, Gulf Coast. I love you. And you too, sister.
When Andrea turned 30, I surprised her by flying to Colorado. She was totally surprised. And it was one fun weekend.
2009: We make silly faces. A lot.
Although I knew that we had spent many of her birthdays together, I hadn't really pieced it together that we had created this accidental tradition of being together for her milestone birthdays.
So last spring, I hatched a plan to visit her for her 35th birthday.
I wasn't sure it would actually work out because flying to Scotland is not cheap, and we had just visited her the year before. But I periodically checked out fares, and really started looking in earnest after January 1st. If it was going to happen then I needed to make plans.
It almost didn't happen. Sunday morning I told Jason that it wasn't going to work. It was going to be too expensive.
Then Sunday night, my mama told me that they would help. So with a little help--and some experienced flight searching skills on my part--it happened.
I won't be there quite on her birthday, but I'm pretty sure she'll accept my belated birthday present. Ten days--Glasgow, Edinburgh, the Lake District, and four days in Ireland (!!!). It turns out that round trip airfare to Dublin is much less expensive than tickets to Glasgow, so I'm flying there, catching a quick and inexpensive flight over to Glasgow, and then we'll make our way back to Ireland for some adventures before I fly home.
It's almost unbelievable that it's happening, and my husband is the absolute dearest man on the face of the earth for taking care of the girls while I'm gone.
Four months from now, I'll be there. With my sister. Oh my goodness gracious.
What larks we'll have, Pip! What larks!