Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Sister.

My baby sister turned 19 today and, at risk of seeming maternal, I feel reflective. Mom dug her baby book out of some closet somewhere, and the three of us sat down to look at it together. I was deeply intrigued by the things that my mother wrote about Shelby nearly two decades ago. Now, I don't know a lot about kids or child development; I haven't spent enough time with babies to really witness and understand how they grow up and into who they are. Maybe this observation will seem cursory and simplistic, but I was awestruck by how, well, Shelby my sister was at 2, 3, 4 months old. Before she could speak, before she could eat real food, before she could even crawl, she had her temper and her laugh. Before we could understand what it was to be sisters, let alone friends, Shelby and I played together, loved each other, shared clothes and a room and our toys. Mom wrote about how she prayed for our relationship and how she hoped we would always be close friends...she couldn't have had any idea how much God would bless those prayers.

Though we battle through hard times, Shelby is my everything. We laugh about how ridiculously dependent we seem to be on one another. How many times have we looked at each other and said, "Um, not to sound like Ruth or anything, but where you go, I will go..." ? Who has a bond like my sister and I? Who else is blessed to have a friend who is half of her heart and forever connected through family? With whom can I share all of myself? Who else knows my entire history as well as she knows her own? Where do I go when I'm tired and I need someone to think for me, to feel for me, to take care of me? I have been given some extremely special friends, girls who mean the world to me, who I would do literally anything for...but Shelby is my baby sister. She has me wrapped around her finger and we belong to each other. There is nothing that can touch our bond.

Shelby is special for a million reasons. I could list the typical ones as easily as I draw my next breath: she's funny, she's beautiful, she's smart, she understands me, we can communicate on a separate level, we practically read each others' minds, she laughs at my sense of humor, she is loyal, she is fiercely protective, she is nurturing. She is all of those things and more, trust me. But what is it about sisterhood that elevates it away from friendship?

Is it the fact that we have grown up together?

The fact that I have spent more sheer hours interlocked with Shelby than anyone else on the planet?

Is it the fact that we were raised to be best friends, that we were told that we would be the maids of honor in our future weddings?

Is it because we have seen each other in all situations, right and wrong, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, throughout our entire lives?

Or is it something else?

Is it all of those things in addition to the fact that we want to be together, that we enjoy one another's company, that there is a special place in our hearts reserved only for each other?

Although I identify and define myself as a writer, I don't think that I can properly describe what it is about Shelby that knits her so intricately into who I am. All that I can say is that no one has the ability to make me as happy as she does. No one makes me as angry, either. No one can push my buttons and hurt me like her, but no one can touch me and make me feel as loved either. I have a lot of friends who I say are "like sisters" to me, and I believe that is true. I'm realizing, though, that sisterhood is something completely different than friendship. It's more extreme, it's complex, it's beautiful, it's painful, it's permanent and it's a gift, one that I hope to give to two individuals one day. Because let's face it -- if God gives me one little girl, He's going to have to give me two. There is no way I would want to raise a daughter without a built-in best friend like Shelby by her side.

Happy Birthday, Sissy. I love you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Farm Day Festivities

As she promised, Julie came into our room and woke Shelby and I up ridiculously early this morning...9:45. I know, I know -- tough life. As my sister and I made it out to the collection of teensy barns that my mother loves so dearly a few minutes later, Jewels started seperating animals.

"Gross," Shelby said as we neared the goat house. "I have served my time in there -- you can clean that." The whole reason we have goats is because Shelby is overly maternal and my mom is weird and just randomly lets her children get farm animals "for 4H." I mean, sesriously, most moms would laugh and drop it if their child asked for goats. Mom just started a list of potential names.

We walked up to where Mom was and she squealed giddily. "Oh goody!" She said. "We're going to have so much fun today!!" Shelby and I looked at each other. That was very doubtful. "Okay," she started, "now I need one of you in here and the other one in the chicken coop."

The words were seriously not even out of her mouth before Shelby all but screamed, "I'M IN HERE!!" You see, despite her previous loathing toward the idea of cleaning up after Buttercup and Westley, nothing is worse than the chicken coop. The goats have redeeming qualities. They're cute and they're stupid and they try to eat everything...but they're not mean. They don't circle around you and crow in a warning tone. They don't barrell around the yard, bobbing their heads like velociraptors. The chickens? They do. They're scary. Sure, they lay eggs so, unlike the goats, they serve an actual purpose...but they are not fun to be around, no matter WHAT my mother says.

So there I was, sweeping out hay and chicken...droppings, for lack of a better term [I said "chicken shit" today and was told to watch my mouth. Woops] when Betty, the worst hen of them all, started to circle.

Here's the thing: Mom insists she knows the difference between her birds. She swears that she can tell them apart and she calls them by name, but I have never bought it. Jewels will put her hands on her hips and looks at those dumb birds and go, "Oh Bernice, stop torturing Edna, she's your sister!!" and "Oh, poor little Gladys, that fox got some of her feathers," and "Maude laid three eggs this week!" but you know that she has no clue. Betty, however, stands apart. She's big, she's got black feathers, and I think that Satan himself might live inside of her from time to time.

She started to waddle around the coop as I was mucking out the stalls, puffing herself up and emiting this low, growing noise. It's a sort of crow, but it is evil; it makes you think she's on the verge of attack. I know that I'm a grown young woman and she's a chicken, but it's still pretty scary. I felt kind of defenseless. So I waited for her to poke her head in the door and then I swept a huge pile of gross hay and, um, chicken byproduct right at her [don't tell Julie]. She squawked and ran away like a linebacker. I laughed derisively. I beat the chicken -- I am Carly, and I defeated the evil hen.

Fortunately for me, Farm Day couldn't last too long; I had an interview at Victoria Secret [the irony kills me -- I spend my morning sweeping and scraping chicken coops and weeding and then I shower and interview at the girliest store in the mall... this is my life] in the early afternoon, so I got to peace out before Shelby did, God rest her soul. At one point, Mom laughed at our disgusted faces and said, "I wonder what sort of hobbies you'll have that your kids hate." I don't know the answer to that...but I can pretty much guarantee you that there will be no hens involved.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Summer Vacation by the Numbers

Just in case you've wondered what I've been doing since my release from the institution...I mean that beautiful school that I love with my entire heart.

Number of bags to move home: 37. Exaggeration? Only slightly...
Number of days it took to begin to tackle a room invaded by two college aged girls: 2
Number of hours spent unpacking said room: 12. No exaggeration this time, unfortunately.
Number of jobs applied for: 16
Number of interviews: 3
Number of positions offered: 0
Number of consolation dollars my dad gave me to try and make me feel better: $5
Number of friends gone for the summer: Roughly all of them...except for a precious couple. So all of them -- the few brave souls left.
Number of hours in a air-condition-less van to Florida: 23
Number of pina coladas by the pool: 2
Number of guys who asked for my phone number in Florida: 3 and all of the stories are FABULOUS, let me tell you.
Number of said guys who could speak coherent English: 1
Number of hours working on my [ridiculously impressive] tan: countless
Number of times I had to bite my tongue on the way home: it's still healing, if that tells you anything.
Number of van breakdowns: 1...epic.
Number of Alias dvds I've already devoured, due to a huge lack of things to do: 7
Number of books I've read: 3
Number of blogs I've written: 0

So. There it is. Sorry for the absence...I've been too busy wallowing in self-pity and boredom to drag my sorry butt to my Mac [ooh, nice development -- wireless Internet. Meaning I can now waste time online from my bedroom. Loooove it.] and actually do anything productive. I mean, I'm kind of kidding...but only kind of.

But anyway, I'm back now and I have stories and I promise to try to be better about writing. It's not like I have anything else going on, although Julie just informed me that tomorrow is "Farm Day" and it starts at 9:00 AM. Joy.

Until tomorrow, then. I can only imagine the possibilities of shoveling horse manure and cleaning chicken coops with Shelby and Jewels...most likely none of us will be speaking to each other by the end of the day. That's okay, though -- I've become so enmeshed in the world of Sydney Bristow that contact with the real world scares me anyway.

I think I need serious help.