Today is the day my sister was born some odd-years ago. And the title will make some laugh because Saint she is not, by her own admission. Someone among my Facebook Friends (no recollection exactly who since there are quite a few of them I don't know) wrote on their status page shortly after the New Year that for their resolution they wanted to be the type of woman who, when her feet hit the floor in the morning, the Devil shouts, "Oh CRAP, she's up!" I took that to mean she wanted to be good.
My sister's would most likely be, when her feet hit the floor, the Devil should yell, "Oh CRAP, here comes the competition!" Don't get me wrong, she's got a very good heart. But devilish fun is her mantra these days.
When we were little, it was me, teasing and taunting to the point of tears, like alot of big sisters. Now it is she who loves to push buttons and tease me no end. I'm finding that pay backs are... inevitable. But even when we were little, despite the unending bickering and hair-pulling, biting and forehead pushing, we found reasons to be grateful for each other.
Through all of our first decade together, we shared a bedroom, sometimes even a bed. And like most kids, we complained about it and climbed under the covers with the words, "Don't TOUCH me!", "NO, Don't YOU touch ME!" on our lips. If I wanted to get to her, all I had to do was reach over and place a cold foot on her leg and it was a fight.
But when we moved to the farmhouse in the Pacfic Northwest countryside, there were enough rooms that she and I each got our own. At first I was ecstatic, planning MY room and MY space exactly the way I wanted MY things. I even had MY own door to the outside, a stairway down to the backyard (which SHE didn't have!). But after awhile, I found it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. It was Lonely. And Scary.
Every night I would leave the door cracked just enough for the light from mom's room to slide in, keeping me safe and grounded. But sometime during the night, mom would quietly close that door and with it, my link to any recognition of where I was. I would wake up somewhere in outer space, not sure on what I was floating. When I realized I was actually on a planet, I still had to determine what room I was in and even where the walls were.
My sister wasn't in the bed with me or even in the same room. She was too far away for me to reach her hand or even hear me if I cried out. I found out later that she felt the same, lonely and scared, though at the time we both kept up the pretense that we luvvvved having our own space. Today, I am continually trying to get across to her two children the same message our grandparents tried to instill in us: 'Be kind to one another and grateful for each other. Someday you may be all the other one has.' They look at me much the same way I looked at grandma, rolling eyeballs and mouthing, "Right!"
Today, though we are countries and oceans apart, I still reach for that hand when mine needs holding. Having read lately how lucky we are to be born as humans (when you consider how many animals there are on the planet), I'm realizing how truly lucky I am to have been born from the same place, within the same year to this woman who shares my history, my shadow and a part of my soul.
She always hated that she had to share her birthday with St. Patrick. So today and for the rest of her life, as a birthday gift, I am proclaiming it St. Annie's Day. If nothing else, because I know it will make her laugh.