So here I am in CT with my cousin E., her husband A., baby boy Patrick and Lily, a very nice half-Siamese cat who just might have to come home with me.
E. and I are six months apart in age. I beat her out of the womb, and it was the last victory of its kind. In retrospect, I should have gloated some. While I was in bars with my parents, begging for quarters for the jukebox and slurping down Shirley Temples, E. was busy playing multiple sports and becoming valedictorian and then getting a full ride to college and an excellent med school. She has a great husband and an adorable kid, and I've always been insanely jealous, to the point that I might not like her if she weren't also kind and fun and cool.
But after being here for a few days, I'm not so jeaous. Her life is hard. She works 80+ hours a week, sometimes for 30 hours straight, and has papers to write and research to do on top of that. Last week, she was exposed to HIV and so now she also has to wean the baby and take powerful anti-retrovirals that make her sick all the time.
I couldn't do what she does for a week. And I wouldn't want to. I never want to work that hard. She's never taken a semester off or laid aroud indolently all summer in her entire life. I admire her, but I don't want to be her any more.
But: if we could combine forces we'd be a super person. She was pushed too hard to achieve, I wasn't pushed enough. She can't sit still, I can read a thousand pages without stirring. She's left-brained, I'm right brained. She's Type A, I'm Type B ( with some latent Type A tendencies). Extrovert, introvert. Sometimes she can get the baby to sleep, sometimes I can. If we were one person, we could take over the world.
Or she could, while I sat home and read a novel. Maybe I'd cook a chicken too.