One time, years ago, Kim and I were hanging out together in her apartment in Vancouver. We had had a few drinks and other *ahem* stuff, and were having a wonderful time together, when I looked at her, and asked “How crazy is it that we were little kids together?” and because of the resonant truth and “for-reals” clarity of that off-the-cuff observation, we laughed and laughed.
But seriously, how cool and awesome and crazy and weird and fantastic and humbling? My sister and I have known each other, deeply and honestly for almost 37 years now. I vaguely recall her as a newborn; my memories of her coming home are more of awe and ownership rather than of a physical being.
She was my tag-along. My bright-eyed chubby-cheeked accomplice. My annoyance. My right to boss around. My peon. My admirer. My frustration. My rock. My solace. My supporter. My champion of everything I am.
She was there. All the time. Didn’t matter what. We played dollies and school. I secretly made and snuck cookie dough for us to eat when Mom was out of the house. We dressed up our basset hound like a baby and fed that poor dog pablum, we formed a united front against unjust parental rule. We laughed, we fought. We tromped through it all, thick and thin; two blonde girls with bright blue eyes, both different and alike. I resented her, loved her, admired her, refused her, cherished her, defended her.
We became mothers 16 months apart. She breathed with me through my contractions and bashed her head in excitement against the stirrups to catch the first glimpse of my son as he took his first breath; I leaned into her, sisters beside each other, our hands clasped tight one June morning as her son cried before he was even fully born. Her tears matched my own when my sweet daughter joined our family, as mine did when her daughter made her wonderful appearance, both years apart and both in that delicious month of July.
We know one another’s dark secrets. We hold tight to the past and how it defines us and we embrace the future and its allure of the unknown. We are each other’s best friend. We fight rarely, but when we do, hold on to your hats, kids, because we fight hard. But then we make up just as well, we accept and cajole and laugh and get over it.
We are aging together. We bear witness to each line and groove, as they mark their path across our faces. And if we are lucky and blessed, we will get to be little old ladies together, rejoicing the gift of getting to live for so long. But not before enjoying every ounce of life’s gifts. Yes, we try to practice living in the moment. We celebrate our children and their unique beauty and gifts. We complain to each other about life’s annoyances and phone each other at least once, if not two or three times a day. Recipes, husbands, clothes, gardens, the world, religion, dogs, orgasms, PMS, fishtanks, school, earthquakes, yoga. Tears, giggles, irritable responses, joyous commendations, complete and devoted understanding.
Sometimes, all we need to say to each other is “you know”. And we do. Her and I just know.
She is sometimes what holds me up in life, when I think I just might fall down.
I am blessed beyond words to have her in my life. When my children argue with one another and express hatred for each other and I am at my wit’s end with their bickering, I often ask them “Who is Mom’s best friend?”, in hope of instilling the value of siblings upon them (and, by siblings, I deeply believe regardless of whether they are brother OR sister), they both dutifully and simultaneously answer me “Your sister.”
Damn right. My sister. My best friend.
(100 imaginary points to who can tell me where I get the title to this post from.)