Tuesday

Sister Act

I have one biological sister. She's 3 ½ years younger than me and she is my best friend.


It wasn't always that way, though.

From about the time Sis started walking until my Senior year we were borderline mortal enemies. We fought constantly, bickered incessantly and generally loathed being in the others' presence. If we were in the car she was taking up part of my seat, breathing too loud or looking at me wrong. If we were in the house she was trying to get as close as into my room as she could without actually entering it. She would stand with her toes at the line where the carpet changed color and just stand there. If I hollered at Mom that she was in my room she would matter-of-factly inform all those around that no, she was indeed still outside of my room. If it was time to get dressed for school she would wait until I left my room then sneak in, grab a shirt and manage to get it on, hide it under a jacket and not unveil it until we were at school and there was not a darn thing I could do about it other than shoot her the most evil looks and swear to her that death would be awaiting her when we got home from school. And sure enough, we'd hit the door of the house and the beating would begin. That is, until we heard the garage door opening and then we separated, smoothed our hair, tried to hide the scratch marks and slap prints and greeted Mom after a hard day's work, her two angelic daughters.
Mom said there were nights she would lie in bed and cry, wondering where she had gone wrong and what she had done to make us hate each other so. She had two brothers, she'd always wanted a sister – why couldn't her two daughters see the gift they had been given in each other?

I really can't answer that, other than just to muse that.....it's just the way things are.

I have three kids: two daughters and a son. The son wishes daily for a brother. The girls tolerate each other most of the time. Abby is the oldest, a mere month away from being 14. Kady is the youngest, two months away from being nine. There are days Abby will draw her younger sister into her room for a makeover and photo shoot – and there are days she will trip her just to watch her fall face first. There are days Abby is kind and supportive of her little sister – there are days she says words so mean I can't believe she had the nerve to say them in such close proximity to the back of my hand. There are days Kady thinks her big sister is the world's most amazing female to ever walk the planet – and there are days she thinks her sister is a big fat meanie-face poopoo head. There are days Kady respects her sister's privacy and need for space – and there are days she will put her toes right at that line in the doorway where the carpet changes color and just stand there staring at her sister, waiting for the screeching to begin.

However, I haven't spent one single night crying over my daughters not getting along. I know that someday they will both magically mature and see what they have in each other. I am so blessed that my baby sister decided to forgive me for telling her if she pulled her pants and underwear up at the same time she'd get really sick. (Yes, I know there is no sense in that whatsoever, but she was four, I was seven and she totally believed me, so I went with it.) I'm thankful she also forgave me for pulling her hair, scratching her with my teenage talons and pummeling her relentlessly. I am confident that someday my daughters, too, will realize that their sister is an amazing gift.

Sis and I now realize fully what we have in each other. We actually began realizing it around the time I was 17 and she was 14. She suddenly became less annoying – or maybe I just became more tolerant. We hung out at school. We hung out on the weekends, dragging Main, going dancing at the under-18 dance hall and watching movies.

It was shortly after we decided to like each other we went down Main one night in my awful little gold Cavalier. We were dolled up, probably smelled like prostitutes with all the Colors and Liz Claiborne perfume we had doused ourselves in and had the windows down, our bangs teased up so high they brushed the car's ceiling. We were waving at friends, boys, making hateful remarks about certain people, having a good time. I have always had a very loud laugh and when I am truly amused I will throw my head back and laugh like a total dork. I have done this for as long as I can remember. Sis knew this about me so she waited until we were stuck at a halt, smack dab in the middle of Main street, cars beside, in front and behind us – then she told me a joke. And it was a really good joke. I threw my head back and started laughing and when I finally opened my eyes again as the laughter subsided I realized that people in all the surrounding cars were staring at me. Why were they staring? Because at the precise moment I began laughing like a loon my sister hit the button that reclined the passenger's seat completely flat and made it look like I was laughing all alone. I looked over and saw her rolled over on her side in the seat, laughing silently. I tried with everything in me to make her sit up, but all that did was just make me look more insane to those around me, like I was now not only laughing at myself but talking to myself, too. I think she was exacting some kind of revenge on the whole "underwear will make you sick" thing I told her.

Mom loves that story. I think it kind of helps to erase all those tears she shed, worrying if we were going to hate each other for the rest of our lives.

And now? Now ...... I'm going to go call my baby sister.






~~Mrs. Nesbitt

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