Sunday, June 22, 2008

My Big Sister

Posted by Lara at 10:11 PM
She used to ask me to sing to her, late at night. "Sing something," she would whisper. To this day, I don't really know what it did for her - whether there was something special about hearing my voice or whether she just needed something to break the silence for a while. I never asked; I just sang in the darkness.

I remember all the nights growing up when I would go to her room and crawl into her bed and we would giggle together in the quiet, or I would pull out the trundle bed and lie beside her so we could tell stories until we fell asleep. I remember sharing secrets and playing dress up and creating whole worlds of make-believe that only the two of us could see. I remember wanting to go everywhere she went and do everything she did. I remember that she was my best friend.

I also remember when it all started to change.

She left me - that was how I saw it. She wanted so badly to escape, and so she did, to a college in Connecticut, three thousand miles away. And just like that, she was gone. How I missed her and everything we'd been. No matter how much I wanted it to be, it was never really the same after that. We were pulled apart by time and space, and when she came home for visits, we could never quite overcome the changes we'd gone through, apart from each other. She resented me for my closeness with the step-family; I resented her for not understanding that I needed them.

My dad's illness brought us together again, but only physically. I was in a fog of shock and depression, much too lost in my own head to notice those around me. She was struggling to compromise the two halves of her life on opposite coasts. I didn't understand her pain, the pain of not being there; she didn't understand mine, the pain of being there every single day. We lived together, worked together, and buried our pain together, but it feels, sometimes, like I never really saw her in all those months.

In the years since, we've both endured our share of struggles. I've wept for her, worrying myself awake in the middle of the night wondering if she were all right. I imagine there have been moments where she's done the same for me. I've had concerns about some of her less-than-stellar life choices, and she's had her concerns with mine. We've gone weeks at a time without speaking - not out of anger, but out of a pure loss of anything to say.

But through it all, she is my sister, a part of my heart I can never lose, a part of my life I could never forget. Only in the last year or so have I really begun to appreciate sisterhood and what it brings to my life. Only recently have we begun sharing secrets again, giggling together in the darkness late at night. The memories of our girlhood are replaying, reshaping themselves into the memories of grown women who love each other fiercely.

And if she asked me now, I would sing for her. I would not even think twice.


Maggie on 10:51 PM said...

What a beautiful tribute to your sister - she is certainly lucky to have you!

In my family, I am the big sister. But there are two little sisters, so the closeness is between them and I sometimes feel left out. But I try to remind myself that the actual growing into an adult will change the dynamics of things once again...and then maybe they will understand why I was the one who 'left'.

Hanlie on 1:57 AM said...

Very touching, thoughtful post, Lara. I'm the big sister and in retrospect I think I may have been a tough act to follow for my sister. Yet today she's the one with the 3 kids, while I have been struggling to conceive for years... We don't examine the relationship too closely!

Guilty Secret on 5:26 AM said...


I'm lucky enough to be both a big sister and a little sister and this spoke volumes to me looking at it from both sides. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Having a big sister is something I wouldn't trade in for the world. We've always had our ups and downs but in the end I know she's always there for me :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this Lara. I always wanted a sister; hearing you describe yours makes me sad I was not lucky enough to have one. I hope my girls have happy thoughts about one another and remember things like singing to each other at night.

Mrs. Chili on 8:45 AM said...

One of my most miraculous relationships is the one I have with my younger sister. Thank you for this (and you are both BEAUTIFUL!)

Hey! Did Sister ever go to yoga class? How was it?!

Bethiclaus said...

I have no sisters, but posts like this make me so thankful that my girls will have each other. Beautiful.

musing on 2:17 PM said...

What a lovely tribute to your relationship. Makes me want to go hug my sister.

My Life My Life My Life on 8:55 PM said...

Wonderful tribute to the whole sister relationship. I"m the youngest of four girls and we all have our roles in each others lives....we come and go...sometimes it seems like while we wish one would leave us alone we cant get enough of another one. We ebb and flow through each others lives always present and I wouldnt want it any other way.

flutter on 9:07 PM said...

of course you would

Wolf Lover Girl on 10:17 AM said...

That is very beautiful. I'd have to say I'm much closer with my sis now because of my mom's illness.

~ Wolf Lover Girl

BetteJo on 9:11 PM said...

coming from a family where none of us is really close - this is a lovely post. Nice to hear.


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