Sister, My Sister
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I will be posting about our Christmas rockin' festivities soon. But, for now. I've got a few days of important business to attend to, starting with this:

When I was 11, my parents announced at the dinner table with that all-too familiar smile on their faces, that we would soon add another player to the team.

Usually, I was bursting with excitement over the thought of a new brother or sister, but, we hadn't had a new baby in a few years and I was now, an all-knowing, sophisticated pre-teen. I was nothing but grossed out at the thought of my mom, who was OLD, I mean OLD-like 35 old, with a burgeoning belly. It meant, everyone would know what those two oldsters had been up to. Oh, the shame.

I wasn't too sure what it actually WAS they were up to, but I just knew old parents shouldn't have anything to do with that sort of nonsense.

My mortification grew along with her stomach and I just tried to pretend none of it was even happening.

Until the day they brought the new baby home.

I will never forget that day. My friend, The Libster and I were riding our banana bikes around the neighborhood, when someone popped their head out of the house to shriek, "She's here!"

She's here.

With those words, my life changed immeasurably.

I pumped those banana bike pedals as fast as they could spin and raced into the house, forgetting the disgrace of the last few months.

Someone put that tiny little bundle into my arms and everything from that moment on became We--We Two.


She never left my hip for the next three years. She has never left my side in our lifetime...-my sister Beth.

Almost 12 years live between us. And for most people, 12 years is enough to keep their distance. It is different songs. It is different memories, different viewpoints, different fashions, different likes and dislikes. It is texting verses non-texting. It is Myspace verses Facebook. It is Nirvana verses AC/DC. It is a different generation, a disparity too broad for real friendship.

But, not for us.


From the minute, that soon-to-be, little freckle-faced girl burrowed into my arms, it was as if the fairies of symbiosis descended and sprinkled their magic over us, adhering us to one another for good.


I carried her everywhere. I changed her diaper, fed her, her bottles. Taught her, played with her, sang to her, read to her. And what salacious stuff I would read! I look back in amazement, realizing she was only 5 or 6, when I read her the entire tome of a book, The Thornbirds. I probably should have been reading, Bread and Jam For Frances. but this was a better fit for me. Passionate affairs with handsome priests beats a picky, talking bear with eating disorders, every freakin time.

I can still see her face, enraptured, every night as I read to her from that scandalous book.

She was a pre-schooler when I was a teenager, but I never once remember her annoying me. Every boyfriend I had became the possession of her kindergarten self. She would wait at the picture window for my dates to arrive, climbing over them like a monkey in a jungle gym. My friends loved her. I even brought her to high school with me one time, showing off my sweet little baby sister...until the dean insisted high school was not a place for 5-year-olds.

In my first year of having a job and getting a paycheck, the first Christmas present I bought was for her, a Barbie Dreamhouse, a big, pink, pimpin' 3-story condo for Barbie, but more importantly for the sparkle  I knew would be in my baby sister's eyes on Christmas morning.

She was 7, when I met my Hubby. I knew this guy might just be a keeper, when I informed him that my baby sister would be accompanying us on our 3rd date to the beach. He didn't bat an eye. She, on the other hand, was awfully ticked when I insisted on pulling the bottom of her bathing suit away from her skin, to rinse out the sand. She hissed, "I don't want him to see my booty!"

As she grew, our bond only strengthened. I was there for my many of her firsts. I was in the passenger seat, teaching her to drive when she pulled suddenly off the road, in the midst of traffic. When I asked her what she was doing, she said in a panic, "There are cars. On the other side of the road. I had to get away from them!"

I took her to her first rated R movie, Pretty Woman. As we walked into the movie, I explained to her how Richard Gere kissed like no other movie star man I had ever seen. I told her to take note of his kissing technique and to look for that in a man. (Of course, Julia Roberts stops him as he about to kiss her to say she doesn't kiss on the lips.)

And most importantly, I took her to her first U2 concert, teaching her early on, what great music sounded like.

And somewhere along the way, we left the big sister/little sister roles behind and easily morphed into a friendship like no other.

It didn't matter that I wouldn't allow her to wear heels in my wedding party, because she was too young. It didn't matter that she was in high school and I was a woman of the world. It didn't matter that as she went off to the drunken, wild days of college, I was settling down in suburbia with a husband and babies. We would talk on the phone for hours, late into the night, me sitting on my kitchen floor, she regaling me with tales of college life.

We had each other, the truest constant I have ever known.

Honestly, I am having a tough time writing this post because it is quite difficult for me to put into words what it is, we have, exactly.

I can tell you, there is nothing like it. I can tell you, when something happens in my life, my first thoughts are to tell her. I can tell you she knows my words before I utter them. I can tell you, we are of the same blood, the same like, almost feeling as if we share the same brain, the same thoughts, the same heart. I can tell you she knows all my secrets and fears and dreams and she keeps them safe in her heart, her boundless sister heart. I can tell you she knows me like no other person on this planet and my bond with her is so deep that nothing in the world could ever sever this strong and abiding love. Not even my Hubby can compete with who we are to each other. That might sound cold-hearted to my wonderful man, but it's not.

He knows this about us. He understands. It's why when she would come home from college, he would snooze on the couch, so she could curl up with me. It's why he has never said a word about my bazillion phone minutes, knowing good and well, he needed to find an unlimited calling plan, just for the one fact that she and I talk every day, sometimes many times over. It's why he understands when sometimes I say, "I need my sister" and I drift off to my room and a phone conversation that might last hours. He knows.

When she was still in her 20's, she called me one day and in a little voice, she said, "You're going to be mad at me when I tell you this...."

My other sisters had been singing their siren song for years, trying to coax her into moving to Chicago where they both lived. I knew, the small town-life of suburbia couldn't compare to the excitement of Chicago. I mean, they have Oprah and the tallest building and five-star restaurants and tulips and pretzel vendors. We've got Applebees.

She packed up and left me and my heart was raw and hurting, missing its other half for a very long time.

But, even though my loneliness was immense, she was having fun and it was exactly where a young, twenty-something needed to be. I was glad for her.

When her husband was ready to propose, he flew her down here to The Land of the Tropics. He brought me into my bathroom to show me the beautiful ring he was going to give her. I hugged him and told him how happy I was for her, for them and I told him to make sure he gave the waiter the camera at dinner that night before he proposed. I wanted him to capture it all for me.

He looked at me and said so simply, "Oh, no.  I want you there with us."

When I protested, saying I didn't want to intrude on their moment, he adhered himself to me instantly by saying, "You are the biggest part of her life. I couldn't imagine doing this, without you there."

I cried as he put that ring on her finger. I stood next to her under the huppa, as she said her vows. I waited breathlessly and was utterly delighted when her first baby girl came and then her second, doting on them as if they were my own.

And so it goes. And so it goes.

Our lives as women and wives and mothers and sisters go on, no matter how many miles there are between us. We swap stories every day of our life, always finding something to say, no matter how many times that day we've talked.

On this day, the day of her birth, I just wanted to say, that to be her sister has been one of the biggest privileges of my life. To be her life-long friend has been even better.

She has been a magnificent sister and I am blessed-- blessed for all she has given me...which is a hell of a lot.

When I need a good laugh, I call her. When I need to share a salacious secret, I pick up the phone. When I need to vent and use every bit of profanity in my well-versed vocabulary, she listens well and good. When I grieve, she holds my hand across the miles. When I am ebullient over my life, she celebrates for me. When I need to cry my heart out, she knows and drops everything in her young mother life. When I falter, when I don't believe in myself, unsure of this endeavor I have undertaken in writing, she is there picking me up, cheering me on. And speaking of....

She was the first to know I was writing a book, something I kept secret for a long time. She was the first one to read my story. There has been no other reaction that meant more to me than her tears and the words, "It is an amazing story. I am so very proud of you. You are a writer."

Happy Birthday, Beth. May this day and every day be filled with utter joy. You are my heart. You are my just about freakin everything. I couldn't have walked this path without you and for all my days I will be so grateful that you and I are sisters, sisters like no other.

All my love and kisses across the miles. And I'll talk to you tomorrow, first thing in the morning. As always. As always.

Today's Do It Download: Glee's version of Kelly Clarkson's, "My Life Would Suck Without You." Because, like all of our other passions, Beth and I share a passionate love for Glee. And  even though, as a wordsmith, I thought my ears might just combust when I heard the name of this song for the first time, it is a mighty, good song and its disgustingly basic words capture my heart more than anything, "Cause we belong together now, yeah. Forever united here somehow, yeah. You got a piece of me and honestly, my life, (my life) would suck, (would suck) without you."

For my Beth. Thanks for keeping my life from not sucking.





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4 comments:

ProudSister said...

First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you and ditto. Second, you suck because I was all ready to go on my birthday date & now my makeup is running down my face. Third, you're an amazing writer, I can't wait until the whole world loves your phenomenal writing as much as I do.
I love you.

Anonymous said...

That is such a sweet tribute. I remember how much you doted on little Beth. It is great that you are still doing that. It reminds me of my baby sister who is now 43 years old. I'm posting anonymous because I can't figure this comment thing out. An old high school friend who has reconnected.

Joanna @ The Casa said...

What a great relationship you have with your sister. I hope for my girls to have such a close bond.

Barb said...

OMG sisters. Is there anything better? They're the luckiest things in the world to have. Great post - you both have smiles that would launch 1000 ships. Lovely.

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