Monday, August 29, 2011

the rob-bob has a birthday

I think I mentioned last year around this time, that it's a busy birthday time in my family.  My sister-in-law's birthday (which thus far remains unblogged--maybe next year, Susan) was last weekend.  Yesterday we shared in the glory of Shane's birthday, today we celebrate my cousin Robyn (although we actually had her parties on Saturday and Sunday, today's her actual birthday), and on Thursday my moma and MacMac turn another year older.  Thursday would also have been my Gramps's eighty-sixth birthday.  We do a lot of celebrating at this time of year.  Shane and Robyn's birthdays especially get smashed up around here, but thanks to my commitment to quality journalism, I will not be smashing up my favorite things about them, giving them each their very own, high coveted post here at the opinions.  You're welcome.

Robyn is almost a year and a half older than me, but for as long as I can remember, that age difference has been completely insignificant (at least until I began to get some enjoyment from reminding her of her comparatively advanced age).  We're both in the younger half of the grandkids and one of the natural pairs that seem to have materialized among us due to similarities in age and temperament.  As kids we were usually not mature enough to play with the big girls, not willing to get beat up on enough to play with the big boys, and older and bossy enough to bend the little boys to our bidding.  In my memory, it was a fairly perfect arrangement for us.  As we've all aged, the big girls have come to accept us, the big boys stopped hitting, and the little boys are huge--but still bossable from time to time, and Robyn and I are still a natural pair, now more due to thirty years' experience being cousin-friends.
(in her natural habitat)

So to celebrate what is perhaps my longest-standing friendship, here are my five favorite things about Rob-Bob:

5.  She keeps getting better with age.  Probably most people do, but there aren't all that many people who I've watched do so across the span of their lives.  Robyn is one that I have.  I loved her and was her friend when she was younger and more selfish and more competitive and more rigid, and if she hadn't changed in those areas for the past twenty years, it wouldn't matter to me, so the fact that she keeps getting better and better is just a bonus.  But it's also an often-inspiring lesson as I see her give generously and selflessly of her time and attention, as I see her devote herself to taking care of those she loves, as I see her heart grow.  Robyn's always had a lot of strong opinions and ideas and words, and as she's become her grown-up self, she is the person I think of first when I think about people who live up to their talk.  It's the thing that makes me want to be Robyn when I grow up.

4. Robyn loves our babies.  From the time that the oldest great-grandchild was born thirteen years ago, she's been devoted to cuddling and playing and cherishing the little people in our family.  And now that many of them are not-so-little anymore, she's still focused on knowing and loving and caring for them. If you quizzed her on the likes and dislikes and basic facts of their lives, she would ace it because she listens and cares about what they're saying to her.  She has such a heart for our kids and the other kiddos she encounters in her life, and it's why they all love Rob-Bob. (And it's why nearly every picture of her I have also has a kid or two in it.)

3. Robyn speaks my language.  It has been noted by people who encounter the two of us together that we can a bit difficult to understand.  Part of that is the speed with which we communicate, a portion is the fact that we use a fair amount of obscure quotations from movies, books, and our shared history, but there's also a dash of the fact that we don't necessarily have to finish sentences or thoughts.  Our family has its own short-hand of stories and oft-repeated phrases, and I have the same with most of my friends.  Robyn is in that lucky overlapping category that she has both, which means that anything I might say to her (or she to me) is soaked in deeper meaning and memory and usually a healthy amount of hilarity.  It makes for rich communication that is completely effortless, and it's awesome.

2. She makes me laugh. Have I ever mentioned the value I place on humor, imaginary readers?  It's kind of a big deal with me.  And Robyn and I have been laughing at the same things for the past thirty years.  She can remember everything that's ever been funny in our lives together and brings out those references at just the right moment.  Her storytelling rhythm is designed to maximize my laughter (and since she has a story for everything, there are lots of laughing opportunities).  Last year when I included her (and CST#1F) as my second favorite things about MacMac, she commented that I would have to not be so serious if I ever wrote about her.  We do funny.  It's our default setting, and though I can't think of any humorous references to make here to actually fulfill her wish, I hope I'm adequately communicating the fact that Robyn and laughter and me are so tied up together.  She may not know everything (there was a muffin, after all), but she knows just how to make me fall apart laughing.
(On her wedding day--and no, she didn't get married in flannel.)

1. I'm actually a little nervous that she's going to be unhappy that I didn't end on the funny thing, but I've got one more absolute favorite that's going to take the top spot.  The adjective fierce could probably be applied to a few aspects of Robyn's personality.  She's intense in several ways, but when I try to think of a defining characteristic, it is her fierce loyalty that comes to mind.  She cherishes her friends and family, enveloping them in protectiveness and support and love.  She makes time for people and knows the value of intentionally spending time them.  She will take your side against outsiders, maybe even when you're wrong.  She loves with all her heart and manages to show it in all the nicest ways.  She's the best kind of friend and way better than I deserve.

Happy Birthday, Robyn!  So glad you're mine.


  1. RobBob is the greatest! And I love all those things about her! But if she had not had that perfect wedding dress, she probably would have gotten married in the flannel or maybe an Arkansas hoodie.


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