Puck, peppermint tea and posh frocks: my fabulous sister

With my fabulous sister, Raana

With my fabulous sister, Raana

Learning disability charity Mencap has a marvellous blog, which features, amongst other things, some very personal contributions. The site recently featured a lovely and touching piece from journalist and Mission to Lars filmmaker Kate Spicer on her brother Tom (he has Fragile X syndrome, like my sister Raana) and I contributed some thoughts too, so here’s Raana, in rhyme:

The Fabulous Raana Salman
What does “puck off” mean, you asked,
When a playground jibe you misheard,
It’s an insult, we said, with a bittersweet laugh,
And “puck” is quite a rude word.

You’re older now, and more in the know,
And you’re still just brilliantly funny,
We love how you call my other half “bro”,
And our mother is always called “mummies!”

You constantly amaze us with all that you do,
You garden, you cook and you bake,
You’re a music fan who likes her tunes loud,
Full volume – bloody early – at dawn break.

You love Chinese food and movie nights in,
And sometimes the pub if it’s near,
Remember your fury when we ordered you juice,
And you indignantly cried: “I want beer!”

“You’re fried!” you shout, knowingly wrong,
After watching The Apprentice on telly,
You say it when angry or to make us smile,
And it shows you’ve fire in your belly.

You’re creative and busy and do stuff we can’t,
You’ve woven and painted and grown,
I love having you stay so you’re able to see
How your art brightens up my home.

You’re thoughtful with gifts, matching present to person,
(You know I like peppermint tea)
We joke how “mummies” foots the bill sometimes,
And you say of your gifts: “They’re for free!”

You love baggy sweatshirts, they comfort and cloak,
You categorically refuse a posh frock,
You know your own mind, you’re fabulous and kind,
And basically Raans, you rock.

* The film Mission to Lars will be released on 8 April, with proceeds going to Mencap to help support people with a learning disability and their families. The film follows Tom Spicer who has Fragile X syndrome, a form of autism. He has a dream to meet his hero – Lars Ulrich – and his sister Kate tries to make that happen.

About Saba Salman

Saba Salman is a social affairs journalist and commissioning editor who writes regularly for The Guardian. Saba is a trustee of the charity Sibs, which supports siblings of disabled children and adults, and an RSA fellow. She is a former Evening Standard local government and social affairs correspondent.
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4 Responses to Puck, peppermint tea and posh frocks: my fabulous sister

  1. Kate says:

    Lovely poem; and I adore “You are fried”. I shall always use that from now on.

  2. Saba Salman says:

    Thanks for reading Kate, it’s a great phrase isn’t it? So much better than the original!

  3. Stephen Bull says:

    I love the photo of you and Raana – and the poem is beautiful, especially with the positive details of what Raana loves doing.

    • Saba Salman says:

      Hi Stephen, thank you so much for taking the time to comment..the photo was taken just before an evening out and my sister is indeed a very busy lady!

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