Being the little sister of Kristi Anne Runyan is a unique experience. She’s the fiercest and most loyal friend you could ask for, but she also threw a boot at me once that left a nice boot-shaped bruise on my leg, simply because I refused to clean the house.
That is our relationship in the smallest of nutshells.
As long as I can remember, we’ve been arguing and physically fighting about something (probably my general brattiness) and within five minutes we’re singing an old Barney song or quoting Harry Potter. This is still a common occurrence, despite the fact that we’re both in our 20s.
More importantly, I’ve always been in awe of my big sister.
My family is pretty funny (at least we like to think we are) and sometimes the jokes just fly wildly and it’s amazing to witness. Since I was a kid, I remember Kristi commanding the room with her humor and complete lack of fear to take it a little too far. I would sit in the back seat and just listen to her and our mom or dad talking and joking and thinking these are incredibly funny people and I will never be that clever. Still to this day, I consider myself the weak link among these brilliant humans.
(It’s not like I’m not talented. I’m really good at watercolor designs in Illustrator.)
What balances out her biting humor is her intense compassion and human empathy. God forbid we see an old person dining alone because she will slowly break down to tears, imagining his or her whole life story. Even when she’s making fun of my mustache, I know how much I mean to her. I mean, she partially named her second daughter after me, which must count for something. Plus it’s hard to be mad when even the jokes at your expense are so good. It’s like you’re in the crowd, cheering at your own roast.
Above everything, my sister taught me one of the greatest lessons I’m still learning – just be yourself. Kristi can be very crude and inappropriate and talks about poop too much, but that’s who she is, unapologetically. She still farts at the table and then giggles until someone notices and tells me not to tell mom even though mom now inevitably knows. I spend half of my time trying to stay disgusted and the other half trying to act like it’s not really hilarious.
We still break out in song in public. We dance in the car with our special dance, appropriately called the Car Dance. She does a mean Cher and Cowardly Lion impression. She could probably shoot me with a bow and arrow and then sing ‘Cheer Up Charlie’ from Willy Wonka and I would laugh and completely forget about the injury.
We used to write stories about King Bong and his gong and record them on my Talk Girl. Sometimes we would wear dollar store police toy set sunglasses and jump into imaginary dips in our yard. We spent countless hours watching movies that were too mature for us while our dad was at work because we had full access to every movie channel ever.
We still make the most obscure movie references and most of the time, we get it. Most of the time it’s a line from Harry Potter, but not the obvious ones like “You’re a wizard” or whatever. We play for keeps.
I could talk about my sister and our memories all day, but I will wrap it up like this. We didn’t always get along and went through the typical adolescent phases, but somehow we remained best friends through it all. From our childhood of being complete weirdos to our adulthood of being even bigger weirdos, I still love her most of all.
Kristi taught me to be silly and weird so if you ever wonder why I’m so weird, blame my sister. On that note, thank you for making me so strange and being the best big sister.
Happy Birthday, Kristi. May your last year in your 20s be great and hopefully filled with another pregnancy because I’m ready for another one.