I used to be jealous of her.
Back when she was born, I was sixteen and at the height of my teenage drama years. Or maybe the drama was only beginning. Escalating.
Whatever the case, here was a brand-new, sweet, precious little life added to the chaos of mine, and it was difficult not to compare. That is a theme in my life. Comparison.
I think I am jealous of Stephanie. I once wrote in a letter to my boyfriend, Steve, She is so sweet, and I am so NOT.
I was mistaken for her mom on more than one occasion, and she probably looked more like I did as a baby than some of my own children.
Aw. She is SO precious. She looks JUST like her mom!
Actually, I am her big sister. Me, the oldest. She the youngest. Five siblings in between.
Those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it. Exceed it.
So there we were. Big sister. Baby sister. Me off to college. She running from me when I returned, having to get reacquainted all over again. Finally coaxing a 23-month old into the car with me for a trip to the mall at Christmastime. Sister time. She decided she could trust me.
I intentionally chose the parking place to be as far from the center of the mall as possible. I chose the entrance, so we WOULDN’T have to walk past Santa’s Workshop and risk catching a glimpse of him. We were enjoying lovely sister time in one of the stores, when I was suddenly clawed and climbed by a shrieking lemur. I grabbed on and pulled her close, looking in the direction of the terror.
How was I to know that Santa took breaks to walk around the mall into stores where little girls who are terrified of costumed characters are shopping with their big sister who is home from college?
It took quite a bit of convincing to undo the damage from that event before being whisked further up and on into others.
My Flower Girl.
My children’s friend.
My teenage sister.
Yes. Somewhere along our journey together we morphed into friends. I can’t say exactly when or how, but it had a lot to do with her being there for me at the other end of a phone line when I was sorting through some really hard life stuff. She was there to listen and encourage and care.
She became a grownup friend.
This week, my baby sister has spoken truth to my heart in many ways. She has been on the other end of numerous calls or texts to catch my tears and remind me of who I am and am not and what I can and can not control.
She is a safe place for my heart. How did this happen? Wasn’t I jealous of her once and of all the potential and sweetness she carried?
It may have had something to do with trust built over the years. It might have started on her end when I scooped her up into my arms on that fateful day in the mall and whispered into her ear that I would always be there for her when things are scary.
Now she is there for me. And it is a gift that is sweet.
I love you, Baby Sis!