Note: previously published Oct. 2010
I remember asking my parents for a sister.
When I finally got one at age 10, things were not the way I thought they would be.
I wanted someone that I could talk to late at night, share clothes with.
Someone that would be my sidekick.
Instead, I ended up with a sister whom I had to babysit.
There was diaper changing, toddler chasing and yelling “my stuff is off limits”.
And I wondered if we would ever relate.
There was a big age gap.
Where half the time I was playing a mother’s role.
Making sure her homework was done, making sure she had the right friends, checking in with her teachers, driving or picking her up from school, telling her “don’t do this” or “don’t say that” or “CLEAN up your mess!”
. . . . .
When I entered motherhood and she was 14, things began to change.
She was full of doubts and insecurities.
Wondering about her worth and her purpose.
Desperate for guidance and reassurance.
And I was there to answer all the tough questions.
To help her make the right decisions and encourage her hunger for God.
Day by day, we grew closer.
She would stay the night and I would make us Ratatouille lasagna and she’d wash the dishes and we’d talk about whatever came to our minds.
She would push the grocery cart through the aisles and make the girls laugh while I checked items off my list.
We’d watch movies. Meander into each others closets.
Flip through magazines. Drink mugs of tea. Discuss Ugly Betty.
And on days when it seemed like all hell was breaking lose, we’d hold each other up.
She had become my sidekick and I was hers.
Looking out for one another. Doing life together. Like sisters were always meant to do.
. . . . .
At her wedding it seemed like I couldn’t hold onto the day tight enough.
It was exciting and beautiful and I had no idea how to process the joy and the ache that was a tangled mess inside of me.
She was moving to the other side of the country. Going to start a new life as a married woman.
And it felt like someone pulled the rug right under me.
Because this was something I never expected.
To be two thousand miles apart.
During the reception, I take the microphone and tell the story of how I first met her, a wide-awake, dark chocolate-eyed newborn who was about to make my life far more interesting.
“This is hard,” I say, “I’m not just letting go of a sister. It feels like I’m letting go of a daughter.”
. . . . .
The day she flew out, I woke up with the heaviest heart.
It felt like a part of me was torn to shreds.
I brushed my teeth. Made the beds. Fed the kids. Got dressed.
And sobbed through it all.
Every single task.
The tears just would not stop.
I thought about our drives of running errands together where we’d play the same song countless times.
And I wondered, who else was going to tolerate that? Who else was going to appreciate one tune for 3 hours straight?
I thought about her help with the girls, her ability to please my last minute requests, to make the mundane days bearable.
Who else would get me like that? To see me from the inside out, see all my ugly and still accept me just as I am?
. . . . .
Then my mind wandered to Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthdays.
How she wasn’t always going to be there.
How it wasn’t going to be the same without her.
How I would have to text her “Happy Thanksgiving” or mail her a Christmas gift.
I didn’t want any of that.
I didn’t want to see her once or a twice a year.
I wanted her to be a 5 minute drive away.
And as I folded the laundry and sorted through itty bitty socks and princess undies, I thought about her becoming a mom.
I didn’t want to see that chapter in her life through Facebook or Skype.
I wanted to watch that belly grow.
Feel that baby kick.
Be at the hospital when she’d give birth.
Help her walk through the long nights and the hard days.
The more I thought about it all, the more I cried and the angrier I became.
Because this was a change I didn’t want.
A change I never asked for.
. . . . .
When my husband comes home, sees my swollen face and asks if I’m okay, I press my lips together to fight back another avalanche.
I tell him how much I hate all of this and he reminds me that it will all take time to accept.
And I ask how.
How? When there is a hole in my heart?
Deep within I know he’s right.
Nothing was ever meant to stand still, to be held so tight and I sit at the feet of Jesus and ask Him to give me that peace that surpasses all understanding.
Because right now that is what I really need more than anything . . . . .