I won't lie. I didn't always like my sister. She. Got. On. My. Nerves.
There is a 5 year difference in our ages, and I think that contributed a lot to the fact that my sister was annoying. Er, I mean--that I didn't appreciate her. Come on, when I was 13, becoming a teenager and teasing my hair up in honor of Motley Crue and Poison? Kelly was 8. And what was she listening to? I don't even know. I didn't have time for that.
So I was pretty mean to her. I tricked her into eating grape Kool-aid powder. Not the Kool-Aid already made up. The POWDER. It will kill tastebuds and brain cells. Try it someday. Then imagine someone holding you against the kitchen counter pouring it down your throat.
Our babysitter (!!) helped me paint my face to look like I was possessed by spirits. She ran to get my sister who was playing outside. "Something's wrong with Amy!!" I was sitting in a closet rocking back and forth, a thin sheet over my head like a shawl. My sister FREAKED!! Crying, not because she was afraid OF me, but afraid FOR me. [Yeah, I felt really guilty about that one.]
And maybe the thing I feel MOST guilty about? I called her stupid. A lot. A few years ago, when we found a journal she kept in elementary school, we saw where she wrote that when I yelled at her, it made her 'nervose.'
WHY? WHY did I do that?? I've spent many nights asking myself that question. Sometimes I think it's because I was jealous. Or maybe resentful? Just plain selfish? I don't know.
Only now do I realize how cute and precious she always was. How smart she was. And very loving.
When we were around 4 and 9, we shared a bed, and EVERY night, she would sweetly ask, "Amy, will you put your arm on me?" Sweetly, lovingly. And every night, I said NO. I rolled my eyes and sighed with disgust. I know that sometimes I gave in, because I can recall flopping my arm over and waiting for her to drift off to sleep so I could get my arm back. Other nights, she tried to compromise and said my leg would be okay. I remember going to sleep some nights with just my toe on her calf.
So now, I consider it a mission to make up for all that time I terrorized her, kept her as far from me as possible. And I don't always know how to do that. I wasted many years when I could have been learning to be a good big sister. There are some walls between us. Some scars.
Today is my sister's birthday. She's the big 3-0. And I hope that somewhere in her celebration, she knows that for every one time that I made her feel unloved, I have regretted it at least twice.
I hope that sometimes, when she looks back on growing up with me, she remembers that I let her lay across the back of the big chair, stood behind her and strummed her belly like a guitar. That I traded rooms so she could have the big room. That our cousin Diane and I feathered her hair and took pictures because she looked so pretty. That I cried when we couldn't find her in the neighborhood once. That we were together with Grandpa when he died. That she was my maid of honor. That she is my boys' ONLY masi. That she is my favorite sister ;) That when I hear my own voice on the answering machine, I think it's her.
And that, as different as we may be, there is NO other person on this earth who has so similar a genetic makeup, family tree or common experience.
I wish I could snuggle in bed with her now. I would put my arm over her and sing this song.