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.


ttcrook said...

Just too precious. I hope you guys are still sleeping in your beds while I am at GLHS, and am suposed to be looking up Shakespearean superstitions... Then I have a Trig quiz... FML

Crazy 'bout Him said...

Thank you Carly. This post touched me at a profoundly deep level. It gave me great joy for the two of you, while making me quite sad that my sister and I were never able to share a relationship such as this.
Your sweet mother is a VERY big part of the love you feel for one another.