The memories go back for a really, really long time.

Like 30-something years.

I remember when she was born. My mom had a quiet hour every afternoon. I'd have to lay on her bed by her for a while, but once she was asleep, I could sneak off. I remember going in to look over the crib and play with the baby in there.

Then there's a gap and the next thing I remember is beating up on her. We were rather merciless to each other. I'd hit her. She'd hit back. And we'd both go crying to mom and then we'd both get in trouble.

The rest of the time we played.

We shared a room for. . .years. We fought over toys and who had to keep what clean. (She is, by nature, a much cleaner person than I.)

We played. We went on family trips. We shared a bed, because when you are the last two girls in a huge family, that's kind-of how it goes.

I played the violin. She played the violin. . .for about a month. (That's an exaggeration in reverse. I can't remember how long--it was just very short.) I danced. She danced. I stopped dancing after three years of lessons. She didn't stop dancing until college when the arthritis she fought her whole life became too much. I played the drums for two years in high school. She played the drums through those first few years of college. She danced and drummed better than I and I violin-ed and piano-ed better than she.

I only remember one real fight. I had the gall while she was in high school, to tell her that the guy she was hanging with was bad for her and kind-of turning her in to a nasty person. (Not terrible, just not as nice as she really is.) She didn't talk to me for months. But eventually she came around and started talking to me again.

I picked the easiest and most logical of majors (though I was doing it the hard way by getting a double major) English literature and music performance. I didn't finish. (I will. I will!) She chose economics because it sounded interesting but difficult. I wondered at her sanity. She graduated.

Because of my pick of majors, I met Faramir, who plays horn and is now an optometrist. Because of her major, she (re)met her husband, who plays the piano and is well on his way to becoming a very respected economist. She, her husband, and my husband all graduated with their bachelor's degrees on the same day. I ran from one place to the other trying to take it all in. And, quite frankly, trying not to be more than a little jealous.

The couch in my living room used to belong to her. She tricked me out of a crocheted blanket I made. (We decided that whoever got pregnant first got it. She was pregnant at the time, just not telling (me) people.) When we get together on the phone, the conversation is rarely shorter than an hour.

We left our place of birth at the same time. She went to Berkeley. I went to Pacific. We both were following our husbands as they followed their dreams. Now she's moving to Chicago and I? I'm back here close to the place of my birth with no real idea of what is coming next.

We are brought together by sewing, religion, children, music, and silliness.

She's velvet. I'm a hamburger (at least I think that's how our high school orchestra teacher put it.)

We are so different. And yet, as I've typed this, I'm amazed at how parallel our lives have been.

I love you. I miss you so much this morning it hurts. I wish you were here so we could have a party and watch silly romantic movies and be the girls again that talked until 2 am (or our mother told us to be quiet).

Happy Birthday!

*In the interest of full disclosure, this is Seamore Tomato.

He is now owned by my son and well taken care of. He used to be hers--her favorite stuffed animal. So her online name is Seamore Tomato. :)
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15 Responses
  1. Kazzy Says:

    I have one sister who is 12 years younger than me. Because of the age difference we never had run-ins or competition of any sort, but we also have very few memories of our time together in our parents' home, since she was 6 when I moved away to college.

    I loved your reflections. You are honest and real about relationships.


  2. Thanks for the memories! That was fun to read.

    I must admit that I have Seamore Tomato (did you really think that I gave the real thing up?). That is Seamore Tomato Jr. My kids play with Seamore Tomato and love that seal a lot. :)

    Love you so much!!!

  3. And I never heard Sam use those descriptions of us. Now I want to know more about them. I can't figure them out. :)

  4. Eowyn Says:

    It was mom's fault. We found it in the box and Pablo loved it. And I kept asking her if it was the real thing and if you had really given in up. She kept saying yes, but I couldn't really believe it. I'm glad to know that's not really Seamore. I can stop feeling guilty about having him now. :)

  5. Eowyn Says:

    Okay, see, now I'm confused. What did Sam say? I remember you telling me about how he described us once. My memory seems to be all sorts of faulty right now.

  6. Kimberly Says:

    How bittersweet! So many lovely memories, but so much distance between the two of you. Must make for a rough day.

  7. I love this tribute. Now I miss my sisters even more!

  8. Catherine Says:

    Oh wow...this is beautiful. I hope I get to meet her...and you!

  9. Absolutely beautifully written! It makes me miss my sisters. They, too, are too far away!

  10. Eliza Says:

    Cute cute! Sisters are the best!

  11. YOU are the hamburger?! This velvet sister of yours must be pretty spectacular, indeed!

  12. charrette Says:

    What a lovely look at sisterhood you've given us.

    I have a similar tale of converging and diverging paths when it comes to my relationship with my younger sister. So close, and yet, so far.

  13. Melanie J Says:

    Awwww . . . I love this.

  14. I love this blog! My sister's b day is coming up, and I believe I will do something similar. I truly believe there is nothing in the world like a sister. My sister and I were estranged until 4 years ago when my parents were both dead and the lies they told her about me died with them. We are six years apart and never knew each other well. Now we are as close as can be. It's wonderful!

  15. chanel Says:
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