Today is my sister’s birthday.
Even though it’s her day, I think it was me who, on April 20 a mere 27 years ago, got the ultimate gift.
Almost all of my childhood memories have my sister in them and most of my favourite times were spent with her.
My sister is caring, intelligent, thoughtful and patient. She’s everything I’m not – in the best way possible.
I think that’s why we’ve always gotten along so well. Our demeanours are different enough while our likes, morals and way of thinking are so similar that it’s a recipe for success.
I can’t imagine my life without my sister.
She’s a constant source of support for me and a great sounding board.
It was my sister who helped me get through the homesickness that I struggled with when I first moved away for college.
She would stay up for hours on end with me, chatting over MSN Messenger (remember when that existed?) and filling me in on what was happening at home. When I got my first job in Port Hardy and was struggling to make it on my own with bills and rent and student loan payments, she loaned me quite a large sum of money that she had worked hard to save up for when she was ready to go to college.
Even though she’s two and half years younger than me, my sister and I often joke that she truly is the ‘older’ sister. She’s always had being responsible down pat.
Of course, as with most siblings, I didn’t always harbour such warm fuzzy thoughts about her.
Shortly after my parents brought her home from the hospital, I – being an only child and used to having all of my parents’ attention up until that point – innocently asked my mom, ‘when is Baby Stephy going to go to her own house?’
Boy, was I in for a surprise.
Things sure changed after that.
But for the better.
I always had a companion to play Barbies with and she would let me push her around in a baby buggy when we’d play house. She was the dutiful student when we’d play school (me the bossy teacher, of course) and she’d patiently stick it out with a puzzle that I got frustrated with and found just too daunting to do beyond putting together the border.
Sure, like most siblings, we had our arguments and our ups and downs but they didn’t last long and we got over them pretty quickly.
I never could relate to the kids at school who would complain about their siblings and wish they were an only child. I’d listen, but I didn’t really have anything to contribute to the conversation. I mostly just felt sorry for them – and fortunate that I had a sister who was so easy to get along with.
I’m happy to say that as we’ve grown up, that hasn’t changed. While we’re no longer playing with Barbies and Beanie Babies, we still do quite a lot together whether it be grocery shopping, catching up on shared TV shows, going to the lake, or shopping trips to Nanaimo.
Today, yet another year has gone by in the time I’ve had my sister in my life, yet it doesn’t feel like it was so long ago that we were trying desperately to swing from the branches of the sagging Weeping Willow tree in the front yard of our childhood home, practising diving in our swimming pool, and playing house in the ‘Secret Garden’ we discovered one day in the empty lot behind our home.
Happy birthday to my sister, best friend, former roommate and closest confidante.