Today is my sister's birthday. She's 38. Only 15 months older than I am. You may be thinking my mom was crazy to have two children so close in age. The truth is, she wasn't nuts, I was just an accident. An 'oh, shit!', if you will.
Kelli and I were super-close growing up. We did everything together, my mom even used to dress us alike when we were little. We never lived in a 'neighborhood' where we had plenty of friends nearby to play with, so we mostly played with each other. We played Barbies, Fisher Price people, and Weebles for hours on end. I can never once remember Kelli making me feel like a pesky 'little sister'. Even in our older years, as teens, she always treated me more like a best friend. I didn't realize back then how rare and admirable that was, but I do now. Her friends were my friends, and mine were hers. She was always the popular one with dates, and she would often set me up with her dates' friends. She always made me feel welcome and not only that, she seemed to actually prefer me over her friends. We argued very rarely and when we did, we made up quickly.
Our lives took totally different directions after having children. She's a stay-at-home mom of four, and I'm a full-time working mom. She's very detail-0riented and her kids' birthday parties are perfectly coordinated. Mine are well, uhh, let's just say 'thrown-together'. We have different approaches to things, but at the same time, for the most part, we jive.
We've had more disagreements and feuds in the past 10 years since having kids, than we did in the 25 years previous. Most of them having to do with our children and our ways of raising them. There was a time when I didn't think that we'd be able to get past our differences in this respect and I feared that our relationship would never be the same.
Well, I was right, it wasn't the same. But that doesn't mean that it's not still special.
It's taken me a while to accept the fact that we don't have to see eye to eye all the time, that it's okay to disagree and argue and move on. That, in doing this, our relationship continues to grow and change. She will always be my 'big' sister. Our relationship is like no other that I've ever had or ever will have. I have shared more experiences with her than probably any one other person in my life. Through childhood, and teenage years, and college and still today. So many parts of my personality have been shaped through my interaction with her. And for that, I feel lucky.
Thanks, Kelli (even though I'm pretty sure you don't keep up with this blog) for being a special person in my life. Though I rarely say it, I love you more than you know.