When Judgmental Genius Doctor Sister settled down with Georgia Boy, I thought they were doomed. Dr. Sis typical of our overachieving white family: type A squared, super competent, goal-oriented, impatient, and INCREDIBLY judgmental. She worked hard for her full scholarship to college, she won her medical school graduation, she kicked ass in her residency, and she destroyed her oncology fellowship at MD Anderson while coping with a difficult pregnancy. (For five months, Dr. Sis operated on patients while wearing a shitload of icepacks to stay conscious.)
Georgia Boy, well, as Dr. Sis put it, “fell into every bit of good luck possible.” He didn’t apply himself in high school. He didn’t even apply for college so much as have it offered to him by a friend of his father’s after they chatted for a few minutes. Same with internships and job offers.
Sometimes, it’s good to be a good-looking, good ol’ boy.
Georgia Boy is almost as good a cook as my husband, but slow as molasses in January. He’s a master procrastinator. His planning leaves a lot to be desired. Take the Christmas dinner where Georgia Boy announced plans for Beef Wellington.
Georgia Boy was sure he could fit in a two-hour bike ride beforehand. Only he didn’t map out his route, missed a turn, didn’t bring his phone, got lost, and didn’t reappear for four hours.
We ate at 10 PM.
Andy and Big Brother’s wife are fantastic chefs. Sadly, they are nice people, reluctant to trespass on Georgia’s Boy’s culinary turf. So they prep all they can and wait. And wait some more.
My sisters and I have never met a power vacuum we didn’t want to fill. We’ve never missed a deadline. We would take over the kitchen in a heartbeat and I guarantee dinner would be served on time. Dinner would also half-burned, half-undercooked, and thoroughly over-salted. We’re terrible cooks and our spouses rightly ban us from the kitchen. (Big Brother is a decent cook, but on vacation, he’s lazy as fuck. He won’t appear until his gourmet nose tells him the meat is medium rare.)
The Christmas after Dr. Sis and Georgia Boy had First Niece was at Big Brother’s house. Dr. Sis was slammed in her residency and could only come for two days. The family breathed a sigh of relief. With Big Brother’s Wife in charge, meals would be served before midnight.
I was dispatched to the airport to collect Dr. Sis and family at midday on the 24th. I was so excited to see First Niece for the first time that I had her out of her infant carrier and in my arms within seconds. I paid very little attention to her parents until First Niece had a massive diaper blowout. I handed her back in a hurry and noticed a band-aid over Georgia Boy’s eyebrow.
“What happened there?”
Georgia Boy peeled the bandage back a little. A neat line of stitches marched across his brow ridge. “Hit with an elbow during a basketball game yesterday.”
Dr. Sis snorted. “Not as ouch as the four hours spent in the ER, waiting to get him stitched up. Instead of packing and finishing up Christmas shopping.”
“Why didn’t you just stich him up yourself?”
“Oh, no,” said Dr. Sis. “Not on the face.”
“She only married me for my pretty face,” Georgia Boy explained.
“Damn right,” said Dr. Sis as she finished up with First Niece’s diaper/ outfit change. She handed the baby over and explained, “Also, I don’t want to hear about it the rest of my life. I can see it now: ‘Hey, man, how’d you get that scar?’ ‘Dude, my wife gave it to me.’”
Georgia Boy laughed. Because he would totally do that.
“So you guys aren’t doing Christmas presents?”
Dr. Sis said, “Well, I am. I got him something months ago, of course. But I don’t expect anything from the weekend warrior here, the guy who just HAD to get in one last basketball game in during lunch.”
“Hey, hey,” Georgia Boy protested. “I got you covered. Have faith.”
As we loaded up the car, Georgia Boy whispered, “There are stores open on Christmas Eve, right?”
Walgreens Drug Store, of course.
Christmas Eve dinner was a scrumptious prime rib, eaten at 6 PM. A walk/ waddle followed, and we returned to find that the North Polar Bear had brought First Niece an ornament and scattered millions and billions of candies all over Big Brother’s house. As First Niece was too young for candy, we enjoyed the candy for her.
The following morning, we opened presents under the Christmas tree. Years ago, when the number of step and half-siblings in our family spiraled out of control, my full-blooded siblings agreed to skip presents for each other (though I always stuffed their stockings with See’s Candies on Christmas Eve). But we had presents sent by our Ex-Stepmother, presents from our Ex-Stepfather, and even presents sent by our actual father.
Finally, spouses exchanged gifts. With great ceremony, Big Brother presented a gorgeous gold necklace, dripping with gemstones, to his wife. We oohed, ahhed, and applauded.
“Not bad,” Georgia Boy told Big Brother. “But wait till you see what I got my wife.” Georgia Boy dove under the tree. He emerged with several strangely shaped, poorly wrapped presents. He placed them in Dr. Sis’s lap, clapped, and carolled, “For you, honey! Open this one first!”
She did. It was a hairbrush.
“Walgreens’ finest!” Georgia Boy announced, beaming. “But there’s more!”
Dr. Sis said, “Can’t wait.” The rest of us smothered our giggles.
Her next present was shampoo.
Followed by conditioner, of course.
“I saved the best for last,” Georgia Boy told her. “Get ready.” With a flourish, he placed a small, rectangular gift in her palm, with a flourish.
Dr. Sis cracked up. So did the rest of us. When we’d finished, Dr. Sis handed a gift to Georgia Boy. “Luckily for you, some of us are planners.”
Georgia Boy’s gift was an ornate silver picture frame, with teddy bears and balloons. I craned my neck, spotting the words, “Our Baby” on the box.
Dr. Sis said, “I had some professional pictures taken, however, I didn’t have time to get them before we left, what with the ER visit. I’ll pick them up when we get home and you can put them in the frame then.”
“Thanks, honey,” said Georgia Boy. “But being a doctor and all, how is it you don’t know our baby’s sex after all these months?” He flipped the box around so we could read the inscription in its entirety:
“Our Baby Boy.”
“What?” shrieked Dr. Sis. “Let me see that!” She snatched the box away, examined the frame, and groaned. “No, no, they had frames for boys right next to frames for girls and I must’ve grabbed the wrong one! NOOOOoooooo!”
This mistake from our most brilliant sibling sent us into further hysterical convulsions. Dr. Sis and Georgia Boy laughed ruefully, and kissed.
Which, after ten years, finally convinced me that my sister had found her soul mate.
Because both of them are shit at Christmas.
And neither of them care.