Sunday, March 30, 2008

If it were not for Lucious Louie (her younger sister)

I asked myself “If not for Alanna… fill in the blank.” Here’s what I came up with.

If it were not for Alanna, I wouldn’t have made it to my own prom.

Mama had me go with Alanna on her dates once a month. I don’t know the logic in that, but as long as Alanna was miserable, everything was cool with me. As conversation fodder I would quiz these guys on their automotive knowledge. When they would work on their cars, I’d be right along side holding the next appropriate wrench, etc. Had it not been for Alanna and my mom’s fractured logic in having me accompany Alanna on her dates, I would not have made it to my own prom when the car stalled on the way to the dance. Me in my red dress, hovering over the engine of a 1987 Monte Carlo SS, cupping my hands over the carburetor to ensure a “lean start.”

Oh yeah… Alanna also slipped me a fifty the night of the dance. That bought a lot of Pizza Hut and my dance photo.

Heck, if it wasn’t for Alanna, I might not have gotten an A in Freshman World History! Especially since I spent most of the class sleeping on my textbook.

Is this the same woman that at the age of 18 had to be bribed into getting her driver’s license? My mom made a deal with Alanna that if Mama obtained US Citizenship, Alanna would get her license.

Here’s how the whole thing went down. It was beautiful shake down. Brilliant in its simplicity:

Alanna didn’t believe Mama when she said she was going to get her citizenship after some 30 years of Mama being in the United States, so Alanna didn’t sweat it.

In the meantime, like a good little 14 year old minion, I approached my history teacher, who was also the American History teacher and asked her for some text books and general US government materials.

I smuggled them into the house and would quiz Mama on the historical and political facts all the way up to the time she took the citizenship test.

Bingo… She passed, Alanna’s stuck having to agree to obtaining her license, and I get extra credit for reporting on the events leading up to Mama’s citizenship raising my grade from a C to an A. Pretty sweet, wouldn’t you say?

But now, we are celebrating the life a woman who not only obtained her driver’s license, but also piloted cars full of unsuspecting tourists being a tram operator?

If it was not for Alanna, I wouldn’t know what “Responsible Licensed Driver” meant.

As a fun side note, there are four years between Alanna and me. So you could imagine how weird it was for me to be one of her “responsible licensed motor vehicle operators” in the passenger side when she had her temps.

Like I said, Alanna was never ordinary.

If it were not for Alanna, I wouldn’t know what the term “Inner Strength” meant.

There is no memory that serves me a laugh or two more than the one when she was in labor with Sean, and members from both Jim’s family and Alanna’s family were waiting for a report of progress in the hospital waiting room. Jim comes out a little worse for wear every hour or so. In his second or third report, he indicated that Alanna was in just a little too much pain and so she asked for some aspirin.

Only the other mothers in the room could appreciate how precious that request was. I could only imagine the size of the aspirin that would take care of that pain.

Let’s go back even further. This is a testimony to Alanna’s ability to bounce back that we have admired and draw strength from today. Any time there was a party in our house growing up, the us kids were left to amuse ourselves. It is no wonder we came up with unique forms of entertainment. One of us kids, in our travels, won a colossal stuffed smiling carrot at a fair or carnival. Why any of us would opt for the carrot over something at least resembling a creature is beyond me. Anyway, the stairs to our bedroom had a door at the bottom that was usually closed.

We kids got the great idea to open the door, load onto the carrot, and ride it down the stairs, smallest kids in front. Appreciate, even though Alanna was older than me, that bears nothing on our relative sizes.

So, all of us kids load onto this carrot at the top of the stairs and ride it down. What joy… what elation! Coast to a smooth stop. Let’s do it again! So, again, same formation, we ride the enormous carrot down the stairs.

Okay - AGAIN! Only this time, our eventual landing wasn’t so smooth. Mid flight, to the horror of us riders, especially Alanna who was in front, someone attending the party shut the door at the bottom of the stairs essentially as we careened aimlessly down the flight of stairs. There was no coasting to an easy stop. Thud thud thud thud boom boom boom bonk. There we were, a pile of sixteen arms and legs, and tufts of orange batting that once resembled a smiling carrot, and below all of the rubble and debris, was Alanna, unharmed, but a bit stunned. Like a trooper, she got up, brushed herself off, and conspired with the rest of the older kids to look for something else to ride down the stairs now that the carrot was no longer an option.

Alanna’s size was a curse, but also a blessing. She was the best at playing hide and go seek. She would hide in the neatest places! I guess that comes with the territory of being so small… you see kitchen cupboards as havens and laundry chutes as possible means of transportation. We even used Alanna to break into the house when we forgot our key by sending her through the milk chute.

But, as tiny as Alanna was, she left enormous footprints on this earth and in each of our lives. She taught me that frailty does not mean weakness.

She eventually came to terms with the fact that I was A LOT taller than her, and no I wasn’t wearing high heels.
If it were not for Alanna, I would not know what it means to love someone entirely, good bad and ugly. She loved and respected the people around her unconditionally.


Louie said...

Uh... exactly why am I lucious? Where did that come from and can I vote not to be?

Erin said...

Lucious is a good quality. The truth is that it is what bubbled up when I thought about you. Lucious to me it means rich and saucy. A compliment to be sure.

And no, you don't get a vote! My blog, my titles. You can make a rucous if you like. That could be fun.

Louie said...

I feel really weird having my sister call me lucious. I'm just sayin'.

Erin said...

You can't help yourself......