Today is my baby sister’s birthday. I was in kindergarten when she was born. After school that day, I went to my aunt’s house instead of going home. She made spaghetti for dinner. I remember that she made the sauce differently than my mom (like, not pre-made in a jar!), which made me afraid to eat it, but I took her word for it and tried it, and it was good! She was a great cook, and her spaghetti dinner taught me to try new food even when I wasn’t sure what to expect.

That same day, a girl with a rather discriminating palate made her debut on earth. As she grew, I learned that the baby of the family always gets what she wants. That holds true to this day, decades later.

Before my baby sister was born, we ate whole grain cereal with no added sugar for breakfast, and/or eggs and potatoes. We ate vegetables with our meals (suspiciously, my mom always “ate hers at the stove” before sitting down to eat with the rest of us). We only got soda on special occasions, and never with caffeine. We never had much access to candy or junk food.

After my youngest sister was born, she asserted TOTAL CONTROL over my parents. She happens to be just about THE PICKIEST EATER on the face of the earth, which drastically limited the food options of the seven other people in our family. My parents went from being conscientious to what went into our little growing bodies to being mealtime pushovers for the next 18 years.

And life has not been fair. My sister’s two kids are NOT picky eaters. They will eat just about anything. No kidding! I’ve even seen them eat Mopane worms. My greatest hope is that the baby she’s expecting will be more selective and teach her a lesson about who’s the boss, including the boss of all meals.

That said, I wouldn’t trade her, and I can’t imagine our family or my life without her. It sounds like a cliché to say that sisters make the very best friends, but it’s true.

Now having meals together is always a good time… we just stick to places where she approves of the menu.