Day 30: A friend
Even though I totally lost in the genetic foot lottery, my parents’ genes aren’t all bad. I have nice hair. I used to have nice teeth, until I turned 30 and the wheels fell off. I’m a fan of my hazel eyes, though I’m not sure who to thank for that (Mom’s are pale blue, Dad’s are chocolate brown).
But without question, the very best thing my parents ever did for me, genetic or otherwise, was have more kids.
I don’t know how they did it, but I’m so glad they did.
Lots of people have sisters. But I totally won the genetic lottery here, because *shhhh, don’t tell anyone* my sister is a superhero. That’s right. I am best friends with a freaking superhero. True story.
There are four kids in my family–two boys, two girls. This convenient arrangement meant that we parted ways with the boys early on in life, reuniting only when we had to, for team sports and dance parties and other important group events.
Growing up, my sister was my little sidekick, always there. In nearly every childhood photo of me, if you look off to the side, you’ll see her.
When my brother came home with chicken pox, my sister and I promptly packed up our Cabbage Patch Kids, our blankies, and some snacks and we moved out. We set up house under the pine tree in our front yard and we vowed to stay there until he was better. I don’t think we lasted the night, and of course we got chicken pox, but we were in it together.
As we grew up, we grew in different directions. I was the introspective, artsy bookworm. She was the outgoing, social butterfly cheerleader. But I think it worked better that way. I never tried to compete with her, simply because I knew I couldn’t. It didn’t matter. She was still my favorite. (Though I was always jealous of her beauty. I still am. Girl is gorgeous.)
That connection was forged so deeply as kids that it lasted. It outlasted permed hair and biker shorts and jerkface boyfriends. It deepened significantly during college. I struggled with a bad relationship that just would not die, and she held my hand through it. I remember thinking, even then, that my little sister was so wise. She always knew what to say, and she always listened.
In the years since then, she has become my rock. She tirelessly cheered me through both a master’s and a Ph.D., so much so that I dedicated my dissertation to her (and the boogies, in case you were wondering). She helped me take the leap and marry Mr. Phish. She listens to me for hours and is my sounding board for things big (should we start a family?) and small (should I get bangs?).
We talk every single day. Not because we lead such exciting lives, but because I need to hear her voice. It keeps me grounded and sane. On bad days, my sister is the only reason I’m not curled up in a ball in the corner, sobbing. On good days, she’s the first person I want to call with happy news.
(And did I mention she has the most super amazing daughter ever? But no one’s surprised. Moo is a rockstar, just like her mama.)
To call her a friend would be a ridiculous understatement. She’s my person. My someone. My other half. I know some people marry their other half, but I was lucky enough to grow up with mine.
And even though I am, without question, the most complicated, clueless, high-maintenance drama queen of a sister in the world, she shows up. Every day, she shows up for me.