The thing I most wanted was not a thing at all.
A few weeks ago, with my 40th fast approaching, my husband asked what I wanted for my birthday. I knew this question would be forthcoming and yet, I was at a total loss. I tossed around the idea of a big party. That immediately sounded like chores and house work and an enormous amount of cleaning up. No thanks, not this year, milestone be damned. I knew we could go out. Dancing and dinner and our typical pretend we are in our twenties shenanigans but we do that often enough as it is. (Twice already this month! Better slow down old girl, your twenties are twenty years gone!) I thought about expensive hand bags that would rarely get used. Thoughts of fancy shoes that would only see the light of day on special occasions but I have not ever been about those frivolities.
Per usual, the obvious answer was there all along. The thing I most wanted was not a thing at all. As with most of my life, the experience not the entity is what I most sought, would most want. I advised my mate that I wished to visit my sister and formally meet my newest nephew.
Sisters can have a profound effect on each other.
If you have a sister you understand how difficult they can be when they are stealing your toys or clothes or even your car. You know how frustrating it is to share a parent or bedroom or secret with them and for them not to understand or agree. Sisters are trusted confidants and arch nemesis, often within the space of minutes. If you do not have a sister you may not understand how you can love and hate someone in the same breathe. How you can long to smash the crap out of them. Perhaps, if you come from the same stock as I, even do so on occasion and yet fiercely protect them should any one else try to do the same. You might not understand how a person who knows every detail of your life can not know you at all and simultaneously know you better than you know yourself.
Our younger years spent at constant odds.
Sisters are in surplus for me, many by blood, a few by marriage, a couple rare ones by soul. Each of these women has been a mirror, sometimes when wanted but mostly when needed. The true reflection of me often emerging long after the mirror was removed. My relationship with my younger sister, Lissy, has by far been the most challenging and most rewarding of these sisterhoods. Of my biological sisters, we are the closest in age at only 18 months apart. Yet for most of our childhood that may as well been 1800.
Our younger years spent at constant odds. My temperament too bold and stinging for her tender heart. Her fear and trepidation infuriating me to no end. Yet we somehow always found our way into each others company. More so than even those sister we shared who also shared our uniquely individual traits. So goes the attraction of opposites I’d guess.
That is the ebb and flow of us.
Lissy returned to me during our darkest days, the lows we faced together as well as the atrocities done to each other are haunting ghosts that spook me to this day. I pushed her away when I feared we would both drown from it. When I finally sought my way out and found a place of serenity, she was the first person I called. She pushed me away, stayed on her path until she could hear its call on her own. When my son tried to leave us, she came to be by my side, I am grateful I was awarded this time to be by her side and to get to know her son. That is the ebb and flow of us.
We have circled each other for far longer than the time this life contains.
She and I have weathered many storms. There have been several years, some recent and some far removed, where we haven’t said a word. The love-hate tug of war of two souls who grew up together too fast with not nearly enough guidance, an overdosing of addictions and bad decisions. Perhaps it is the timing of this trip or the endless trips to and fro, from Colorado to LA in a literal snow storm, to Illinois and then Indiana in a “blow” storm we aptly dubbed the Magic 8 Ball Roadshow, from absolute darkness to ethereal light, from childhood to motherhood that has bonded us again and again.
However, to experience her through the eyes of her son, to see her transform before my eyes into a completely exotic creature and know that we have traveled past the rocky shores, over the dangerous cliffs and have arrived finally on steady and secure ground is by far the greatest gift I could ever hope to receive.
I can not recall a time where I was not responsible for another human being.
Starting before my memory I had little monsters clinging to me, begging me for attention and time. I gave birth during the blind arrogance of adolescence. I was forming another being before I was aware of how to even begin to form myself. Even at my rock bottom when my actual child was not with me I sought out persons who needed me to mother them, a lost little girl, a broken and abused boy.
Lissy on the other hand, was not overtly maternal. She sought to know herself, to unlock the secrets of our shared, tormented youth and to spare any future generations from the gnarled darkness that bore us, one we often feared lived within our deepest subconscious hearts. Motherhood is not something we ever considered would be part of her world but isn’t that the best part of life? The unexpected greatness of things we never considered.