4. Sometimes, when I'm upset and call to complain, I just wish you'd let me be miserable and tell me that you're sorry and that it sucks—and that I'm right to be outraged at having had 75 dollars deducted from the security on our Florida vacation rental on account of a broken manatee ornament that I swear I didn't break—instead of saying, "It's just 75 bucks. In the bigger picture, it's meaningless. Forget about it." I know your instinct is to help me and to fix things, but most of the time, I'm not looking for advice or to be calmed down or rationalized with. I just want you to utter a few tsking noises that make me feel like you understand my pain, however ludicrous the source.
5. I still feel bad about the embarrassing toast I gave at your wedding. I didn't mean to suggest that the groom liked to wear disco jackets made of satin. (I just needed something to rhyme with the word "Manhattan.") And I was just trying—maybe too hard—to be funny. I realize now that it wasn't the time or place, especially with your academic advisor sitting in the front row.
6. By being such a high achiever, you inspired me to try harder. By allowing me to lean on and look up to you, you taught me how to be independent and stand up for myself. And by making fun of me at every opportunity, you taught me to laugh at myself. Which is all to say: even as I've purposefully carved out a different life than the one you have—namely, one that requires me to leave the house as infrequently as possible, while you circumnavigate the globe, attend conferences and give talks—you remain my role model and guide in all matters to do with life, love and, most importantly, friendship.
Lucinda Rosenfeld is the author of The Pretty One: A Novel About Sisters and I'm So Happy For You.
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