One of the blessings of the Slice Challenge is that I see stories everywhere: in the shower, on my drive to work, throughout the ordinary moments of my day. It has offered me the opportunity to reflect on the people and facets of my life that I love the most. As I sit here writing, sounds of my children and my nephew "Supermanning" down our stairs fill the air. Last night, my sister, her husband and son stayed with us, down from Cleveland for Lauren's birthday.
My sister, Karrie, and I are two years, one month, and twelve days apart. Even though we grew up in the same house, we are two incredibly different people. We did not enjoy a close relationship growing up. I wouldn't even say we HAD a relationship. Our differences were a deep chasm, and despite our best efforts, we couldn't bridge it. We fought constantly and reminded one another of our shortcomings each and every chance we got. We both lavished love and attention on our much-younger brother, but we could never quite connect with each other. Call it jealousy, call it misery, who knows? We watched each other grow up, succeed, and fail, but we never supported one another. Looking back, I can say that the time lost with my sister is one of my biggest regrets.
As we have become older, we have stopped the clock on the regrets, and began to build a relationship. My sister began calling me when her son was born, figuring I could give her parenting advice, as my children were born first. Little did she know that I, too, had no idea what I was doing, but I was certainly willing to lend an ear. Life can kick you around sometimes, and having someone who knows where you came from can give you a bit of perspective. We shared the model of parenting in our common upbringing. Now, we have come to rely on one another for a listening ear, for encouragement, and for someone just to open your eyes to the brutal truth when you need it.
Each morning, with the predictability of the rising sun, my phone will ring, Karrie on the other line. We talk about nothing in particular--perhaps the challenges and triumphs of motherhood, of marriage. We also usually talk around dinner, sharing the pieces of our day, offering encouragement and support to one another. While it may seem like small talk, the conversation seals our unspoken bond as sisters. The differences between us still remain, but they seem much less important.
Over the past few years, I have come to the realization that no one really knows about your roots--not your parents, not your best childhood friends--unless you are siblings. Karrie and I have watched each other grow up and evolve into the people we are today. While our differences still are ever present, we realize that time slips by much too quickly, and we share a common thread of our childhoods. No one else truly understands how our beginnings shaped our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.
When her family pulls out to start their drive back to Cleveland, we will all stand in the driveway and wave goodbye. My kids will begin counting the moments until they see their cousin again, and I will look forward until I can see my sister again. My phone will ring tomorrow morning, and we will fall back into our daily routines of talking with each other. And, I will cherish the relationship we are building with every word, every pause.
Time to go connect over our morning coffee and tea. There is nothing quite like the bond between two sisters.