Between the three of us, we single-handedly performed all of the Nativity’s roles – Mary, Joseph, the wise men and shepherds and the angel – thereby earning an early Christmas present on Christmas Eve. (Resident guinea pig Henry the VIII and basset hound MacGruff the Crime Dog were stand-ins for Baby Jesus and the stable animals, respectively).
We spent our summers racing our 10-speeds to Holiday Swim Club in the morning, catching up on re-runs of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Full House in the afternoons, and sleeping outside in the three-story tree house at night.
We rescued tin cans from the recycling bin and strung a long piece of string between the two, whispering our secrets into the metal. We held secret Kid Meetings, covering the heater vents so that Mom and Dad couldn’t hear our conversation, vowing to each other to help the family save money by turning out the lights whenever we left a room.
We ate popcorn and ice cream and Jello for dessert, only after refusing to eat onions, mushrooms and bell peppers for dinner. We squinted our eyes at the old black and white TV in my bedroom, adjusting the rabbit ears every two minutes to see if Mr. Belvadere or The Cosby Show could come in any clearer.
We took road trips from Oregon to California and back again (and again and again), and sang along to Oldies; we got mad at each other if we weren’t able to sit in our favorite seat in the ’73 Ford Econoline van, but healed our wounds by stuffing Doritos into our mouths, washing the anger down with Capri Suns.
We were – and still are – siblings, and we share a unique and unexplainable bond, a view of the world that no one else quite knows or understands. Who I am is part and parcel of Brandon and Aleah, and to see them is to recognize a deeper, insider’s view of their older sister: the quirks and mannerisms, the humor, a love of language, a foundation of faith.
And I wish I could boast my own perfection in our relationship, although that statement ended just as soon as this sentence began. The truth is that as soon as the teenage years hit, I ran for the hills – and pursued everything but my family. At the time, it yielded me a glittering prom queen tiara and shiny success in the eyes of my classmates and teachers, but with it came years of catching up with those I had known – but missed – from birth: Mom and Dad, Brother and Sister.
I suppose I realize now that truly knowing each other is a life-long process. We’re grown-ups now – or so I’m told – with spouses and the next generation of kids in tote, with real jobs and mortgages and a couple of states between us. They’ve both served in the Navy and known a subculture I’ve only heard stories about and experienced while visiting their worlds; they married their Loves and they found their People and they’ve established their Lives – all of which should really be lower-cased, but in an Emily Dickinson-esque sort of way, I think one’s Love and People and Life are that much weightier and that much more important.
And any sibling can attest, sometimes we seem more different than alike, making each of us wonder sometimes how we’re even related. But that too is okay.
Because Brandon and Aleah, my friends, my blood, my mine, I love you. I cheer you on and I’m proud of you. I want to know you and see you and get you. I want to see you on Skype and in person, in Oregon and in California, in Washington and in Idaho and every portal in between, because truthfully, I need you.
I need our memories and I need our future. And you know what? I think you need me too.
Thank you, Facebook, for this Sibling Day prompt of sorts. But to the rest of you: continue the dialogue! How have your siblings changed you? How have they shaped your world?0