I had my nails done on my way home from the office this afternoon. A local station played on an unseen radio in the otherwise strangely quiet salon. Between my pedicure and manicure, the station played the song “Come on Eileen,” released by the Dexys Midnight Runners in the summer of ’82, when I was three months old. As the first notes reached my ears, I immediately thought of one of my best friends from high school, Allison. Allison and I played on the same school and select soccer teams for six years. Our high school varsity team put together a playlist for pre-game warm-ups on the field for all of the home games each spring. Allison LOVED ’80s music, and she’s the only person I ever met who could get psyched up for a game by listening to a song like “Come on Eileen.” I still can’t figure it out, but hearing the song today made me smile just the same.
Taylor’s eighth grade year is complete. If life had turned out differently, my little sister would be a rising freshman, her whole life still ahead of her. She might have been on the field for select soccer team tryouts this summer or in the football stadium with a couple of pom poms this fall. But instead, Taylor will not be with her classmates – her friends – when they enter high school in August.
At Taylor’s age, I didn’t have many worries – not real ones, anyway. When most of my middle school friends when to the rival high school, I worried about making new ones. I wanted straight As, not As and Bs. I desperately wanted to impress my select soccer coach in our twice-weekly practices so he’d give me lots of playing time on Saturdays and Sundays. I wanted a “steady” boyfriend, or at least a date.
Taylor doesn’t have time to worry about any of those things. She’s fighting for her life. And I HATE that. I lost a lot of sleep over a lot of frivolous things during my teen years. Then, I turned around and spent a good part of my 20s fighting tooth and nail to give my little sister – and every other kid like her – a shot. Not at making straight As, or becoming a star athlete, or dating the homecoming king or queen. A shot at LIFE, whatever it might hold. That’s all.
My little sister is beautiful. I love her just for who she is. And I HATE Batten disease.