I met her twenty-six years ago. No, I shouldn’t say it like that. It’d be more accurate to say, “She met me twenty-six years ago.”
When she looked into my squalling red face and squinting eyes (the world is an awfully hard place when bright lights and thundering noises hit you directly and not through the sound-barrier of your mom’s belly), she probably felt something similar to love…and regret that she wasn’t the baby girl anymore.
Still, I wish I could remember that moment when my then four-year-old sister peered into my eyes for the first time.
Even if she didn’t love me right away, I’m sure she must have learned to love me at some point, but it was years before the love went anything beyond obligatory sibling love.
Our relationship was unstable. I simultaneously loved and hated her—I didn’t do things by halves. I envied her cool poise and aloofness. I longed to be tall and lean like her instead of stocky and square like me. Years later, I found out that she envied my blue eyes and blonde hair. Life’s a funny thing, isn’t it?
She was a stubborn neat freak, me her bull-headed little messy sister, both trying to inhabit the same room without killing each other. I’ll let you imagine how that worked.
She introduced me to classic literature and ridiculed the fluffy books I sometimes read. Thus, she bullied me into reading good books. I’m not sure if I have ever thanked her for that.
When she went on grand and glorious adventures to Mexico, Ecuador, Africa, and Spain, I stayed home and got eaten up with jealousy and cheered her on.
Now she writes and works in Spain, where she has dozens of friends and cool adventures every day (and I’m not jealous at all).
She drinks coffee in exorbitant amounts. “The milk here has a funny taste so I use cream in my coffee,” she told us over a phone call.
“Maybe that’s a good way to wean yourself off of coffee,” my mom suggested.
“But—but I don’t want to be weaned off it.”
She has a hunger for yummy ethnic food and actually makes it, unlike me (hello, 5-year old bubble tea balls). Green and red curry, tikka masala, and egg rolls are nothing uncommon. Before she left for Spain, she bought a HUGE bag of rice (I think ten pounds). She was constantly volunteering to bring rice to things.
“Why don’t you make stir-fry?” she’d tell Mom, “and I’ll bring the rice.”
“Do you know what would be good with that?” she asked me as I pan-fried chicken breasts.
I looked at her blankly.
She likes to make use of what she has, and is a shrewd shopper for what she doesn’t.
While I look at a rack full of clothes as overwhelming and hopeless, she carefully combs through each item and selects things I end up being jealous of.
She has long been a proponent of living with less, although I’ve never heard her refer to it as minimalism. To her, it doesn’t need a label. She spent years with monthly stashes beside her bed. “If I don’t use it this month, then I don’t need it!” She kept her drawers and closet on the bare side, while my side was stuffed full (I have since fallen in love with minimalism and my closet is beginning to look more and more like hers).
When it comes to being an aunt, my sister, like me, is in love with the little people. However, she is an infinitely cooler aunt than I ever hope to be, taking our nephew outside to “explore,” having him “catch” leaves, see the kitty (which he calls the “deeder-deeder”), and play on an old tricycle. She is a calm presence, not jumpy and flighty like me, patiently loving on the boys and, more recently, the girl.
When she asked me to guest blog for her, I suggested that I write about her. It’s not fair that all of her readers should see only a lopsided picture of her and never know what she’s really like.
She was worried. “Okay. But make sure you send it to me early so that if I want you to write something different, you’ll still have time.”
I laughed. “I won’t write anything bad!”
Her voice was hesitant. “Just—just send it to me early, though.”
She shouldn’t have worried. I’m not mean. I won’t tell the embarrassing stories (well…maybe just one…hee,hee). I may be the little sister that she tormented, but I’m not a vindictive soul. I’ll let you simply wonder about all the things I could have said, but didn’t.
I sit here now, wondering how to close up an article about someone when they’re ongoing. I’m not a sentimental person. If I were, I’d probably say something trite about loving my sister and how wonderful she is.
But since I’m not sentimental, I’ll just say, “It’s been great. Let’s be sisters for forever.”
Michelle loves books, family, and working with the elderly at her job. She is passionate about making beautiful things, whether through writing, crafting, knitting, etc. She blogs about life at rhapsodyind.wordpress.com.