Side by Side:
This hazel eyed, thick lashed, brunette, with the long delicate fingers (and equally long and pretty fingernails), has been by my side for the majority of my journey here on Earth. All but four years, actually. She has literally grown up next to me. Being the only children in our family, we never knew what it was like to compete for another sibling's attention, and we never had another sibling to run to when the other one wasn't being nice. Nobody in our family had to experience being the "middle child" or was ever left out of a sibling outing; we were all we had. In many ways, this fact left a lasting impact on our relationship. We know we're here for each other. We know there is nobody else to take the other's place. She is the only person who understands what it was like to be raised in our family and the only person who can truly commiserate and celebrate the things our family has been through together.
In many ways, we're so similar-- being almost exactly the same height and having such similar physical voices and mannerisms-- you can tell we're hinged the same and share common DNA. But if you look closer, you'll find that although we're nearly the same height, she's a smidge taller than me and her legs are miles longer than mine. (It is honestly true that her hip bones come up to my navel, so we have decided that I have a really long torso with short legs and she has a really short torso with long legs.) Compared to me, her hair is a bit darker, her eyes are a bit larger, and her feet are almost a size smaller.
As children, we were good playmates. We spent countless hours playing together at home and in the neighborhood. We loved drawing and creating art projects, playing 'school' or 'house', or spending hours upon hours with our "Little People" or Barbie dolls. These toys created giant messes in our house, and our father was sometimes a bit impatient with our inability to pick up the disaster we created. In those circumstances, I can't imagine not having an ally to share the blame with me.
Now, as adults, we still are good playmates-- we craft, we scrapbook, we both love reading, and we can shop for hours--with each other. (I have a hard time shopping with other people but love love love shopping with Sister.) These shared interests have led to evenings spent scrapbooking, endless book recommendations, and annual shopping trips (in our quieter, pre-kid lives). Unlike me, however, she's an excellent baker, isn't thrilled with athletic competitions like marathons and triathlons, and probably wouldn't consider herself a dog lover (although she insists she loved Maddy). Our professional lives are both in education-- though she deals with students about fifteen years older mine. She's also a fairly new mama, with Miss N just approaching her second birthday this June. Having little ones so close in age has been fun for us-- even if our two cherubs seem to have completely different personalities and therefore provide much different challenges for their mothers.
Sister and her family recently moved back to our state, which makes me happy. They never were really that far away, but 90 minutes seems days closer than 4 1/2 hours. Although they aren't really "settled" yet, I'm guessing they'll at least stay in the state for awhile, which hopefully means that C and Miss N will be able to grow up with each other. And as they grow up, I'm hoping Sister and I have a bit more time to do those things we really enjoy doing together-- those things that tend to get placed on hold while lives are crazy with little ones.
Someday, our free time will return (maybe?). For now, we keep up with each other by talking almost daily-- sometimes for a quick minute and sometimes for hours. We're at liberty with each other-- sometimes a little to much-- for siblings seem to have a free pass, silent permission to ask or say what nobody else could get away with. Of course, this is assuming their best interests are kept in mind. I can't imagine my life without my little sister, probably because I've never had to. She knows me, really knows me, perhaps better than anyone else. She knows the person I was, and who I have become. (Sometimes, I think it's hard for us siblings to realize that we really have grown, changed, and matured since our childhood days together.) She knows where we've been and that wherever we go, we'll hopefully always be there together.