It doesn't seem real that my baby sister was that girl just a year ago. I don't think I will ever forget how I felt that day. I hope that I never have to have that feeling ever again, actually. It wasn't like there were butterflies in my belly--it was more like pterodactyls. I cried...a LOT. I cried when we went to Mass. I cried when we ate lunch with our family. I cried in the shower. I cried as I heard family and friends gathering in my parents' room to start the pre-pageant celebration while I curled my hair in the next room. I cried when I saw my mom all decked out in her pageant dress. I cried when Forrest pulled me back to my room, hugged me, and told me to breathe. I cried after I stood up on the coffee table in my parents' suite and rallied our troops with instructions to scream like they'd never screamed before. Just like that, tears turned to screams. I screamed when we got into that overwhelming theater. I REALLY screamed when she walked out on stage FIRST. MARY MARGARET MCCORD---MISS ALABAMA. I straight lost my mind when she was called for top 15. When she rocked the stage in her swimsuit, I cheered like no body's business. When they called her NINTH for the top 10, we went back to tears (and a few shouted cuss words). When she came out in her stunning gown, walking like a princess, like she owned the night and the room, the tears were back. Then, TOP 5. That was OUR girl--MY sister. She would go down in history as placing in Miss USA. The nerves kicked in when it was her turn to answer. Forrest asked me "Does she know it???" Well, she did know it, and she eloquently delivered her answer in front of millions watching on TV. No crying, just sighing. The moment came and the moment went. 1st runner up. Did I cry? No...I cheered. I cheered like my life depended on it. That girl, my sister was walking away as the first runner up in the Miss USA pageant, a journey that she started just a few years before. There was no reason to cry.
(My brother, sister and I after the pageant--we've come a long way from the days when we used to hog tie her to the bed so she would leave us alone.)