Tough Love

I was seven and a half when my little sister came into the world.  She had beautiful big eyes, which we both get from our dad and she was mostly definitely a feisty one.  I remember teaching her how to snuggle, because her reaction to hugs was to push me away as hard as she could.

Before she learned to talk, we all thought she was practicing her cuss words because she spend long stretches of time muttering these grumpy nonsensical phrases under her breath when she sat by herself in her car seat.  It was cute, but it also showed us that this girl meant business.  She was just practicing for the time when she got her words.

I wanted a sister more than just about anything at the time.  After my parents’ loss of their second child due to a genetic abnormality, all the children after me were considered risks.  But my mom took the risk on my brother and then on my sister.  My sister has been one of the sweetest and most challenging people to have ever entered my life.

She and I shared a bedroom up until the day I married and moved in with my husband.  You can imagine how devastating that is to a close friendship like ours.  She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and she, more than the other girls, could not stop crying on stage in front of everyone on my wedding day. 

We’ve been through a lot together.  We’ve torn each other down and built each other up more than just about anyone else in the world.  There were times I was like another mom to her, and other times when we got to speak as peers. 

She has been my confidante, my advisor, my student, my rival, my beta reader, my beauty consultant, my worry, my massage therapist, my snuggle buddy, my weak spot, and my friend.

I’ve had people ask me how it’s possible to be so close with someone almost eight years younger than me.  Answer: She’s my sister.

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909.

Valentine’s Day is when a lot of people start getting romantic and gooshy and chocolate-y.  Don’t get me wrong, I like all of those things (and if you want to mail me some chocolate, I will never refuse) but I think we tend to overlook those powerful relationships outside of romantic love when we think about this holiday.

In honor of another kind of love, I’d like to share with you a letter that I wrote to my sister last summer.  It was accepted and published in the All You Need series, hosted by Elisa Doucette on Ophelia’s Webb.  There’s a current photo of the two of us there, in case you’re dying to see just how alike she and I look: Click Here to Read “Sometimes I Think I  Love You Too Much.”

Warning: This letter is raw.  It’s not a cutesy, flowers and sunshine letter.  It gets personal and uncomfortable, because my love for my sister is anything but easy.  It’s TOUGH.

A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you. -Elbert Hubbard

Sometimes the people who are the toughest to love are the ones we love the most. – Me

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