god never gave me a sister. or, rather my mom’s unfortunate repetitive unions with my father (and the ephemeral presence of two step-fathers) never afforded me one. i used to be real surly about this obvious lacking.
i wanted bonding at midnight with cereal and home videos. someone who i wouldn’t have to explain why i’m this way or that, why i don’t want my father in my life, why i’m weird about affection – bursting with it but all dammed up. someone made to hold my secrets and me, hers. blood sisters without the bloodletting.
perhaps it’s my oldest child syndrome. i’m the baby of me and my brother, but his autism had me taking the lead. being handed reins and never really getting a say in where or when i steered. i guess i wanted the real thing. a baby sister. if i must be the responsible sibling, have the childish bits of my childhood sliced away, i wanted all that meant. diapers and waking in the middle of the night with my mom for feedings. babysitting to show i was more than capable of being left alone at home like the other latch key-ers and her not coming back to MPs reprimanding her and not the vindictive albeit snoozing father in the other room.
i never got that.
i am, however, the oldest of most of my friends. the small, eclectic, slacker with more stories before she turned fifteen than most have their whole lives is technically the mama bear. designated driver and giver of sage advice. keeper of deepest secrets – probably because my memory is shit. supporter of all those bad choices because it’s your life but always the one to make sure you pace your drinks with water and don’t drink on an empty stomach. i drive the getaway car but won’t shift out of park if your seatbelt isn’t on. i beg you to dump his ass but i understand when you stay.
on the flip side, they get me to try new things like fly to see bands i’ve never heard of and paint while drunk despite the perfectionist i know i am. i get encouraged to problem solve in a time crunch and a room full of doll parts. hotel room walls hear confessions i can’t decide are sins or proverbs. i’m chastised for being safe but you got home alive and with all your fingers, didn’t you?
and somehow i kind of got what i wanted. no judgment when i lived away from home and tried my damndest to flunk out of college. watching heathers at two in the morning and not having eyes rolled at me for having a wealth of trivia about the film in my arsenal. those who check on me when i’m quiet and don’t shush me when i’m loud. we may not talk for months or see each other for a year or so, but we’re making plans before the date is over.
to boast a fifteen year friendship, be loved and supported even though i’m a horrible student to tutor math, and know exactly who to call to witness me eloping because her and her soon to be husband are exactly who i’d want to get ribs with afterward…it’s a special feeling i wouldn’t trade for anything. so thank you for making me laugh and basket carrying me to the guest room when i drank too much tequila, hugged the toilet like a pillow, and passed out in the half bath.