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Baby sister grows up, hits 40 today - Kathy Jefcoats

My baby sister turns 40 today. Guess that doesn't make her the baby anymore. I am the oldest of five and had a brother when my mother got pregnant again when I was 3. I hoped and wished so hard for a sister and was so happy when she was born. It is a miracle she made it this far. She had several scary health issues when she was a baby so that created an aura of fragility around her.

Of course, as she grew out of cute babyhood and into an annoying, pestering tagalong, my brother and I conspired frequently to shut her out of our adventures. I remember Mom telling us to stay outside and play or come in and stay but to stop running in and out. I believe she told us if we came in again, we were going to bed. My brother and I took that opportunity to shed ourselves of the "baby" while we played forts or cops and robbers or some such nonsense.

We told her there was candy inside on a dresser and she could have it. She bit and when she went in to get it, Mom made her stay inside. But I think she ratted us out and we got in trouble.

When she wasn't pestering us, she was a pretty good foil. Some new people moved in next door and I wanted to get a look at the brothers. I thought one might be cute and near my advanced age of 9 or 10. My sister would have been 5 or 6. We dressed her in old clothes and gave her a bag containing rags and talked her into going next door, pretending to sell them. The ruse to get the kids to the door worked but I can't remember if there was a cute brother in the bunch.

The point is we had someone who would do whatever we told her to do if she could hang with us for a while. That was fun. But we grew up, as everyone does, and didn't hang out as much together as we used to. When I was 14, she was 10 and way out of my league as a teenager. She always championed me, always supported my crazy notions and always thought I was her beautiful older sister. Of course, I didn't realize all that at the time. It took years of looking back and analyzing events to comprehend what was actually going on. I constantly analyze past events n it's a sickness, I think.

For my part, I was always jealous that she is so tall. At 5 feet 5 inches, I am the shortest kid in the family. She was always tall and thin and pretty. I can one day get thinner than I am but I will never be tall.

Our personal lives have traveled far different paths also. We each have four children. I have three girls and a boy, she has three boys and a girl but I have been married to the same man for more than 27 years and she struggled to find her soulmate. She seems happy now, married almost 16 years to the same guy. After years of working in convenience stores, she started paramedic training, got her certificate and now works with an ambulance service in Macon.

I am proud of her and I think it goes without saying that I love her but we are not nearly as close as we used to be. Gone are the emotional late-night calls during her second marriage to an airman, the frenzied aftermath of divorce and rollercoaster ride to rebuild her life as a single mother. We don't do lunch, we don't see each other on holidays, we don't call. I keep up with her through her daughter, with whom I am close, and her oldest son.

I don't know what happened. When her son married last year, I went to the wedding and we chatted. She told me I looked great. I was very happy to see her but it didn't carry over after the wedding day. She always called when she needed me. Either she no longer needs me or she's finally reached a place where she can solve her own problems. I guess my baby sister has grown up. Happy birthday.

Kathy Jefcoats covers public safety in Henry County. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or by e-mail at kjefcoats@henryherald.com .