It’s time I told you about my sister.
I’ve droned on about my mom, sung the praises of my dad, and expressed the importance of my brother. But my sister - the person I’m arguably closest to in the world - hasn’t been much of a presence online. For as long as I’ve had this blog (and much longer), my sharp, successful sibling has been going through the life ringer. And it just never felt right to write about that.
But today, on the occasion of her birthday, which was actually yesterday, I want to tell you about the person who understands me better than anyone in the world. Better than my husband, better than my best friends. My sister and I, as very different as we are, are soul mates.
She is nine years older. This is not instantly apparent. We’ve had people confuse which of us was older, we’ve had many people be surprised by how much time spans between us. I was eight years old when she went away to college, barely in the second grade the last time we shared an address.
She is a lawyer. One of the smartest people I know, she’ll talk you in circles until you’re dizzy and inevitably have lost your point. She knows more about politics and college football than you do. Way more.
She is a single parent to four beautiful children. I do not know how she does this, so don’t ask me. Truthfully, it is a burden, navigating this path solo. But she does not wear it on her sleeve. She does not play it as a card. She puts her eyes forward and she walks through it.
She is a caregiver. We both joke that we don’t carry the genes of our mother in that way, but she’s wrong. In the past several years, personal hardships gave way to medical hardships, and my sister has been an up-all-night, pray-all-day caregiver to her children who hasn’t faltered in her commitment to motherhood.
I think of how blindingly unfair some of the bumps in her road have been, and I get angry. But she doesn’t. Big sister to little sister, I’m embarrassed of how often she takes care of me, when it should be the other way around. She has always made me feel special, been excited for my successes, distraught over my troubles. She has always been my biggest cheerleader and my loudest fan.
And I, ever the baby, have basked in her attention and not always returned it as demonstratively as I should. So, today, sister lula, I fly your flag. I salute the sister, mother, daughter that you are.
If I could spend an hour talking to anyone, it would be you.