My sister, Trish, and I haven’t always been as close as we are now.
We use to fight over everything: who got to ride shotgun, who got to wear Mom’s earrings or whose turn it was to have a friend sleep over.
When I was 3 she convinced me to touch the electric fence in our backyard. When I was 8, I was insanely jealous that she got to go to the Tiffany concert and I didn’t. (Can you blame me?!!) Over the course of my entire childhood, my sister would find it amusing to sit on me, pinning me down and then proceed to pop my toes until I could break free. She still thinks this is funny though it wasn’t and still isn’t.
I was forever blackmailing her and tattling on her. (In my defense, she was always getting herself into trouble. I was just using her rebellion to my advantage!) She was always trying to boss me around and I was always shouting “you’re not my mom!” at her. It was a rocky decade or so.
Fast forward to 1993.
A shift happened when Trish left our home at the time in Mons, Belgium for college in Abilene, Texas. I actually missed her! And I realized my need for my sister in her absence more than I could have known in her presence. I was 13 and my parents were on the verge of divorce.
Fortunately for me, she came home to Georgia when they actually did file for divorce a year later. That was the summer before I started high school in a new town. Trish and I shared a room in an apartment with my mom. It was the first and only time in our entire lives that we shared a room. (Luckily that didn’t last long!) For the next four years, I would have my sister by my side helping me navigate through the drama and friendships and relationships that are in full effect for any teenager.
Trish took me to freshman open house and dropped me off at band camp. She attempted to teach me how to drive stick shift (which incidentally almost sent her into premature labor with my nephew)! We ate pineapple pizza at crazy hours and watched the same movies over and over together. She was always in the stands to cheer me on playing soccer and conducting half-time shows.
During that same season we watched our father remarry and our mother begin to date. Both surreal experiences, I might add.
We survived it together, me & Trish. When the foundations of our family began to be re-negotiated in every conceivable way, our sisterhood was the thing that remained. It was the constant in the tumultuous equation we were forced to solve.
We stood beside each other on our wedding days. Trish married an Army officer and moves every few years all over the country. (In fact, he deployed for Afghanistan on the day of my wedding! What a bittersweet day that was for her!) We don’t see each other very often and don’t get to “do life” together now that we are adults. But she remains a constant. She’s my first phone call when I need another mother’s advice. She’s who I want on the other end of the line when I have a problem I can’t solve or a crisis to weather.
I now have two daughters.
Lucy & Penny are 25 months apart to the day. They play and laugh and hold hands. They push and grab toys from one another. They vie for their parents attention and affection. They hurt each other and cry and hug to make up.
I am smart enough to know it’s going to get harder before it gets easier for them. They will likely slam doors and say hateful things to one another (especially in middle school, I predict)! They will compare themselves to the other in academics and sports and appearances. They will be each others’ source of comfort and frustration, seemingly simultaneously at times.
For as much as they will change and grow and make their own choices, it is my forever prayer that they always play and hug and fight and laugh and cry together. Because they are sisters. And, praise God, there’s no changing that.