To My Sister on Her Birthday

I don’t know that I’ll call you today. We’ve been weird lately, since Operation Extraction, and I understand. You may not want to chat with me, to confide, to listen. That’s okay. I meant it when I told you that taking a stand on how you were allowing yourself to be treated was worth losing your favor for a while. I also know that your quality of life with- I don’t even know what to call him now- I guess you two are back together, so I’ll call him Maybe. 😉 Anyway, he’s treating you better, and has since we left, and who knows if I can take any credit for that, but at least the whole mess marks the beginning of improvement. Mom and I joked that if Maybe’s big surprise for you was a ring, would we be invited to the wedding? Maybe we would, maybe we wouldn’t- but I’d like to think you know as well as I do that this tension can’t last forever. If Maybe is treating you like a human being- if you’re demanding to be treated like a human being, then I have no quarrel with anyone.

Mom tells me what’s going on with you, and I’m glad that you’re still in touch with her. That’s exactly why she decided to stay out of the whole thing. She needs us right now, and I’m glad she has us. I hope you’re proud of me for rising above the differences I’ve had with her for so long. Your visit this month means that you saw her without her hair, after months of chemotherapy- something I haven’t seen and am somewhat afraid to do. She’s through the worst of her treatment and hopefully this new chemo will be easier on her. I wonder if her struggle has added to your perspective the way it has mine. Being pissed off about some petty, meaningless crap and then calling her to talk about the sores in her mouth, the never-ending nausea, the fear and anticipation of a routine and inevtiable hospital stay.

You’re 23 today. You probably aren’t anywhere near you envisioned yourself to be at 23, say, when you were sixteen. If I had to guess, I’d say in some ways it’s better, and in some ways it’s not near as good. That’s pretty normal, from what I understand. I feel that way every year now, as if my life has been some disturbing, strange and wonderful dream that I will wake up from some day. Except I won’t.  If I could give you some advice it today, it would be: these years are precious. Build some momentum. Enjoy yourself.  Find yourself, and please, I’m begging you- don’t let anyone change what you find. Real and true love can overcome any change, and you and Maybe can decide to make anything work. Both of you have to decide, though, so think carefully about that- make sure that he’s willing to do what it takes. You’ll never forgive yourself if you settle for less.

Funny thing about advice, dear sister. Many times I’m taking to you from experience, but there are times that I’m secretly giving both of us advice at the same time. I hope you realize that I’m well aware of your widsom and talents. I’m six years your senior ( or five years and eleven months, to be exact), so there are some things I’ve figured out that you don’t know yet. However, there are just as many things that you already have a handle on that I’m not sure of yet, and areas that we walk in lockstep, learning at the same pace. I hope you know that I am extremely proud of you, and want you to find your own true happiness, wherever, whatever, and whoever that is.

We’ve been through a lot together. More than most sisters, and less than many. We can take a break for a little while, but the time will come that we need each other too much to afford the luxury of distance. I would be lying if I said I didn’t wish for some of that right now.

Happy Birthday, Lil’ Sis. I love you, and I miss you.

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One Response

  1. You know…for what it’s worth, I hope you did call her. Maybe she wouldn’t have answered…but the opportunity for a simple “I love you, Happy Birthday” voicemail is promising. You are a wonderful big sister — she just may take a while to see that.

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