We heard a knock at the door.
“Yes.” We both said at once.
“Um, may I come in?” It was our residence assistant. I stood there with tears rolling down my cheek, holding a shirt in my hand, standing beside my sister who looked angry and distraught.
“I just wanted to check in.” She said. I heard a lot of yelling and I wanted to make sure everything was okay.”
Embarrassed, we told her that we were just arguing about clothing. I had “borrowed” something from my sister, and she wasn’t too happy about it.
“Gotcha,” the residence assistance said as she laughed and shut the door.
Later, she told us that she wanted to check in on us because she had never heard us fight before. It was true, we almost never fought, and when we did, it was always about something trivial.
I’ve never forgotten that moment. Looking back on it now, my sister and I just laugh. Whatever shirt we had been fighting surely must have been made of gold!
My sister and I are two and a half years apart, and even though we have very different personalities, she is my best friend. For the first 19 years of my life, we shared the same bedroom, we played the same sports in high school, and even shared many of the same friends. We shared a lot of the same experiences growing up.
But now, as adults, my sister and I are at very different places in our lives. She is married and has a two-year old daughter, and I’m currently single, working full-time as a teacher.
Our relationship has changed a lot over the past four years. When she got engaged in 2011, I felt like I was losing my best friend and our relationship suffered a lot. I felt like she couldn’t relate to me anymore, so I became distant and bitter. She was always spending time with her fiance and now husband, and I was in my first year of teaching, swamped by work and the newness of the “real world.” I needed someone to share my hardships with, and I wasn’t mature enough to simply be happy for her.
But after she got married, we began to mend our relationship. It took me a while to realize that her marriage “was a permanent thing” and I could either embrace it or walk away. It seemed like just when I was ready to accept all of the change, she had a baby. Once again, her life changed drastically, and our relationship suffered.
I felt like all I heard about was her sleepless nights, the car rides with a screaming baby, and some of the disgusting, and perhaps all too intimate details of motherhood. I was constantly receiving emails with amazon wish-lists, birthday party ideas, and ideas for fun places to take the baby.
When she called, after about twenty minutes of listening to stories about the baby, my thoughts turned to something like, “Can we please just have an adult conversation?”
My beautiful niece is now two and my sister’s world still revolves around the baby (and should). But also, throughout the past two years, the dynamic of our friendship has significantly grown and changed. I’ve matured and realize how selfish I had been during those really important years of my sister’s life, and what a gift my sister truly is in my life. I am so grateful for her loyalty, wisdom, and unconditional love.
Now, she has tons of life experiences that I don’t, and I appreciate that I get to learn by watching her. I know that no matter where life takes me, she will be there for me. I am so thankful for the advice that she’s given me about relationships and the many prayers that she has offered for me without me even knowing it. Even when I’ve been annoyed or unjustly upset with her, she has been faithful to me as a sister.
I don’t think I will ever forget that particular day in college when we fought about sharing our clothing. I’m not sure why, either. Maybe it was the first time I thought I couldn’t imagine life without her, or the realization that things wouldn’t always be perfect. Whatever it was, that argument left a permanent impression on me and I am grateful for the gift of my sister’s friendship.
Flickr/Send me adrift.