my cousin frankie, who i consider my best friend – she will be my matron of honor some day – is getting married this weekend. i never had a sister, unlike frankie, and I always considered her my sister. we lived an hour apart, but we were together a ton during my childhood. I spent a few days of spring break every year at her house. our slumber parties usually consisted of four of us snuggled in a bed together, me putting everyone to sleep with a made-up story.
once when we were watching oprah, she had several doctors that specialized in sex education on her show. one was the author of "what your mother never told you about sex." frankie and i immediately went out and bought it at borders, giggling the whole time, especially when the check-out guy said, "yeah, we usually sell a lot of these when oprah has the author on her show." we proceeded to read the book to each other poolside, with a magazine hiding the cover. for a few years we passed the book back and forth, until aunt cathy - frankie's mom - found it, we think, and threw it away.
another time we were in sanibel together and decided to put fake tattoos on our butts. frankie's was a lovely star shooting out of her crack. we took a picture to memorialize the event that i found years later, still laughing as i looked at our beautiful behinds.
we used to walk around in our bikinis to make the son of my grandmother's neighbor notice us.
i peed my pants in the movie rental store when frankie suggested a movie called "concealed weapon" for my brother - with a picture complete with a gun hidden in a woman's lacy stocking.
frankie found dozens of letters i had sent her when we were little, before even the land line phones were available to me. i usually told her stories about my snake or my school or dance lessons.
i always wanted to be frankie. i wanted to wear what she wore, do what she did. i'll never forget how happy i was that she was copying me when she decided to try flute lessons. she didn't last on the flute, but it was the fact that my heroine was emulating me that made me so happy.
we had endless shopping trips together, shared bottles of wine, made desserts out of a box that were the yummiest cakes or cookies or brownies. we spent holidays tucked into my grandparents' bed, watching parades and christmas movies that we had seen a thousand times. we laughed at the absurdity of our mothers, at ourselves when we were young, at the stupid things we had done in college. we called each other when we started working, lamenting how tired we were or how far away we lived. it figured the minute i moved to her hometown, she was 10 hours away in minneapolis, a day-long car ride, a $300 plane ticket. suddenly holidays were the highlight, if only because i got to see frankie. i always planned on naming a daughter after her, and accidentally told her that one evening after too much pinot grigio.
and now she's getting married, the first of the 12 grandkids to do so. and i love her husband-to-be. when i walked in his sparkling clean condo and had a rice krispie he made for us on the spot after frankie mentioned she was "hungry for dessert," i knew he was perfect. and, as my aunt cathy tipsily said to a party guest, they will make beautiful babies.
but first we all have to get through the wedding of the year. frankie will go on her honeymoon, and i'll go visit her in november, my married cousin, all grown up. it's how it should be.