What have you been to me?
A baby who disrupted excruciatingly long road trips to visit family in Indiana.
A bratty three-year-old who manifested all of the behavior of a child born late in a troubled marriage.
An alien pre-adolescent who lived with and in the shadow of my mother and so sometimes attracted the undeserved bad feelings that spilled over from that relationship.
A teenager who deserved more insight than I had to give at the time but who had my love but then moved across country and out of my realm.
A lovely young woman who re-appeared into the self-absorption of my own parenting years.
Did we really have the same childhood? the same parents? even the same family? Not really…
Eight years was a chasm. Mom and Dad’s divorce set us on widely diverse paths with such different experiences that we still stand on opposite sides of most memories. Such is the outcome of a family life broken into segments by years and miles and dissension.
But our relationship bears testimony to reunion. We know that shards and splinters of early damage can be repaired by love and understanding when we focus on the ties that we share; even if sometimes we need tears to wash away the anger and pain of those experiences.
When you came bearing an unknown husband, adorable children, good memories and stories of a life I had not shared, we began our life as adults in a common realm. The fragments of our early years melded together as we became sisters and friends again.
It’s hard for me to remember the early years of separation. I have to dredge up past times and gather bits and pieces that don’t always fit into a clear picture. But is that really important? What matters to me are the decades of closeness we have shared. You have been my rock and I hope that I have been a steady support to you. We have lived through joyous events: births, marriages, sister trips… And we have shared the sorrows of illness, death and loss.
So then, what have you been to me?
Everything I could have wished for in a sister. The anticipation of our coming years is as rich as and my memories of our past.