If you have siblings, then chances are that you can relate to sharing the bed. For years, my sister and I did this. As a child, she was my worst enemy and my best friend. Perhaps only siblings can understand that contrast. Like a puppy, I followed her around everywhere and drove her crazy.
As most little sisters do, I went out of my way to annoy her. She had ways of getting revenge though. She would hold me down and punch me in the stomach. Later, I found out that there was a two-fold reason for this. Revenge, and the fact that she liked the way it sounded when she knocked the breath out of me. Don’t be too quick to judge her though, because our rivalry went both ways. As soon as she would let me go, I would launch my little red rocking chair into the air, aimed directly at her. It was all out of love though.
It truly was. Despite the cruelty between us, she was my protector. She wouldn’t let anyone else touch me, but her. Isn’t that sweet? She was also there each time I needed a shoulder to cry on or someone to give me a sense of safety. We would sit for what seemed like hours, under the mimosa tree near our house. That was our secret hiding place. To this day, that is my favorite type of tree, simply because it reminds me of our time together.
My sister and I did everything with each other. More times than not, it was probably against her will, because I truly was annoying back then. But, besides my mother (and my much older brother), she was all I had. So, I latched onto her. We lived on a little ranch outside of a small town. Back then, the world was a much safer place so we had free rein over much of the surrounding area.
We rode our bikes together and ran from snakes. We rode horses, watched chicken eggs hatch in the incubator and talked our friends into eating dog food and mud pies. They really did eat them. I kid you not. Sometimes, we would walk down the road to the old abandoned ‘haunted’ house and explore the inside, while scaring ourselves half to death in the process. Then, run away as fast as our little legs would go.
On many days, my sister and I would run around the livestock auction facility as if we owned the place. I’m surprised we never got kicked out. We also played and often got in trouble, at the convenience stores that our parents owned. On weekends, we would travel to local horse races, where we would watch proudly and cheer as our horse participated.
In the afternoons, we would ride our step-father’s four wheeler, while trying to avoid the scary boy who lived down the road. Together we ventured to the ocean for the first time, where I refused to get in without a body board, terrified that the monstrous sized fish would eat me.
Through both our good and bad experiences, my sister and I made many memories together. I wanted to be just like her. She was my role model. I looked up to her. She was beautiful, smart, fun; everything I wanted to be. She still is.
Overnight, life as we knew it changed.
We shared a bed for years. Then, all of sudden we didn’t. When I was 11, she was taken from me. That’s how I felt. My best friend, my sister, the other half of me, was leaving and there was nothing I could do about it. The decision had already been made. For a variety of reasons, she had to go live with our dad, who we barely knew at the time, and resided hundreds of miles away. I can still picture her standing at the bottom of the stairs that morning, with her suitcase clenched tightly in her hand.
That night I slept alone for the first time in my life. I was scared, lonely and deeply missed her. No longer could we do our “goodnight, I love you” ritual that we did every night before drifting off to sleep. No longer could I curl up to her and feel her moving with every breath. She was my comfort, my security. I didn’t understand why she had to leave and why I was left alone.
Although I didn’t understand why as a child, I see now that everything happened for a reason. We both lived our lives separately from each other, but the point is, is that we lived. We went through school, got married and had children. Now she lives a wonderful life, in a stunningly beautiful place and has amazing children. For that reason, I don’t think that I would change anything, even if given the choice.
My sister and I still live a long distance apart and rarely see each other. I dream of the day when we can ride horses together again, or take long walks and have deep conversations well into the night. Even after all these years, I still look up to her. We may not share the bed anymore, but we share our hearts and no time nor distance can ever separate us. That’s already been proven.
My sister and I realize now just how precious we are to each other. We also understand all too well, that time goes by much quicker than we’d like. More than anything, we have learned that time with our loved ones should never be taken for granted.
My sister and I have two very different perspectives when it comes to our short 11 years together. She feels that we wasted too much time participating in sibling rivalry, when instead we should have been cherishing our time together. I on the other hand, see those years as the best years of my life and a great deal of that is because of her.
To my sister – I love you. Thank you for being the best sister I could have ever asked for.
Lesson – You don’t know how much time you will have with someone before they are gone. Appreciate your loved ones and never put off telling them how much they mean to you. For tomorrow, you may not be able to.