When My Sister Became a Mother (Too)

My first memory ever is encompassed by the arrival of my little sister. I will never forget visiting my mother at the hospital soon after she emerged from the womb. It was the year 1986 and I was heading towards age three, going on twenty-seven. I remember eating salad remnants off of my mothers hospital tray, while completely oblivious to how much this first sibling of mine would rock my world.

We were a sisterly duo for four and a half years before we became a trio. We got a little brother, which smashed my little sister in the middle.

As we got older, and juggled our attention between the three of us, I began to see my little sister as completely and utterly annoying...generally preferring the company of my adorable, much younger brother, than to be cooped up [with the girl who loved to tattle on me AND steal my clothes without asking] playing Barbies for the billionth time.

Oh, don't get me wrong, we had good moments that glued us together. Common sisterly interests that really kept us united despite the daily quarrels we had. You know, things such as: Titanic, Spice Girls, BSB, TRL, Celine Dion, Selena, making mixed tapes, etc.

The teenaged years seem fuzzy to me. We no longer attended the same school, didn't have mutual friends, and basically just argued about clothes a lot.

College gave us one year together on the same hall. I look back now and wish I would've spent that last year of college rooming with my sister. But, I didn't. I was caught up in being engaged, managing my established college life from the previous two years, and just dying to get home and marry the man I've longed to be with pretty much my whole life.

I missed my sister during our separation while she finished her college years and I began my married life here at home. I didn't feel on the same plane as her because I had been married for three years and was about to give birth to our second child when she got married the fall after she graduated college.

We lived close by, I mean CLOSE (like 5 mins) for almost the first two years of her marriage. We really didn't hang out like you'd think. I maybe saw her once a week. I loved having an awesome auntie for my boys that lived so close. She adored them. But she never understood my life. She didn't get it. Well, not completely. I couldn't wait until that day that she did. That day when she would become a mom.

I always pictured that day being the beginning of a new found best friendship between us. Both adults, both married, and both mothers. Bring on the late night phone calls while up with a crying child, the every other day play dates, and we would be each others' built in babysitter. Tag-team this thing. Wanna go to the store alone? No problem, sis, I got you. Bring those little people over. And back and forth we would go.

Our children would be best friends, of course. Cousins and best friends? Perfection. I dreamt our lives would be so beautifully intertwined that we wouldn't feel any hint of motherhood loneliness. We would double up our meals and share on those days we just weren't "feeling it", and our kids would feel lost without one another if there was ever a day we weren't together.

That's what I hoped for.

But that's not what happened...not even close.

You see, I didn't realize how much I loved my sister until she moved almost 1000 miles away four years ago today. I didn't realize, until it was too late, that I should've just stopped by her house more, or taken her out for coffee more often.

Two years ago, God did a funny thing: He allowed us to be pregnant at the same time. Only, God forgot about the part where He was supposed to have us live next door when this happened. God was giving me my fourth and her the double blessing she would talk about when she was little. My sister always wanted twins. I was so happy for her. She was freaking out, but I knew she made for this.

I was feeling sorry for myself throughout our pregnancies. We were only six weeks difference and so inevitably, I couldn't be at her baby shower. I couldn't be at her birth because I had just given birth. I cried. A lot. I cried all night after she had the babies. I hated that I didn't know details. I hated that I had to rely on our mom as the mediator.

I remember when she first moved, I cried sobbed everyday for months, then every other day for several more months. And if I allow myself, even now the thought of her being so far away still makes me nauseous and weepy. Factor in my 19 month old niece and nephew and an amazing uncle that my kids miss out on knowing better, and it makes me so overwhelmed.

But what's even more overwhelming is the fact that motherhood has brought us to this place in sisterhood I never want to leave. We may be a thousand miles apart, but my sister is the gift from God I [always] took for granted. Now I feel naked if I don't hear from her everyday.

She is my "go-to" in this mothering world, my shoulder, my rock, my occasional anxiety (because she worries so much more than I do), but really has become invaluable to me. It's not a coincidence she was my first memory, she's been a part of every important moment of my life so far.

I wish she was here to steal my clothes. I wish she was here to argue with me. I wish she was here to give my kids the stupid sugary junk she always tried to do when she lived down the road. I wish she was here to do the crafts with the kids cause she's better at it than I am. I wish she was here to watch movies with and make us her "heart-attack" air popped popcorn. She made it the best. Like a whole stick of butter and probably a bit too much salt was used. I wish I could make fun of her while she wears that pathetic looking tattered IU shirt for literally the billionth time to bed. I wish she'd show up at my door with free Starbucks and a Liam and Lily to play with.

I never imagined that what I was told all through the years....the years I wanted to hate her....would really come true.

"You'll be best friends someday" is what they would say.

They were right. And I miss her.

Love your sister. And if she's a mother too, love the motherhood-sisterhood bond you will (hopefully) forever share.

Love you, sissy.

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