Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sisters


Sisters are different flowers from the same garden...

Last night my sisters and I went out for dinner to celebrate Kjersti's 25th birthday.  It didn't occur to me until I got home and all was quiet, that my middle sister is actually 25.  Seems like just last week she was crawling around in diapers.

I was a teenager when both my sisters came into this world.  In 1989, a note was delivered to my 9th grade geometry class at Olympic Junior High, announcing that my baby sister had arrived.  My friends cheered, and I just couldn't wait to see her and hold her for the first time.  She was named after a pen pal I had from Norway, and after my mom said I could help choose her name, I must have practiced writing it at least a few billion times.  Of course, I didn't know whether she'd be a boy or girl, but I hoped that writing the name enough would sway the odds.

Two years later, I was in the high school locker room when a runner from the office tracked me down to tell me my mom was on her way to the hospital in Seattle.  Chloe was coming into the world before we all expected, and I remember wishing I could stomp on the gas pedal from the back seat of my grandma's car as we cruised down the interstate to get to Swedish Hospital that evening.  Once again, I didn't know whether a sister or brother would be joining our family, but the name writing trick seemed to work the first time, so I did it again with Chloe, whose middle name Nicole came from our Australian exchange student the year before.

For a teenage girl, having baby sisters was one of the coolest things ever.  I learned how to fix dinner while my mom was pregnant, because she couldn't stomach the smell when the pantry door opened.  That part was not so cool, but in hindsight I suppose I may not have learned to cook otherwise. When the girls were just little, our house was full of my friends who adored them and played with them all the time.  babyGap become my favorite store.  As they got a bit older, Kjersti had a fascination with wild animals, and would recite facts about rare Asian critters to everyone who came to our house, while wearing her favorite Princess Jasmine (think Aladdin) pajamas.  Chloe, on the other hand, would crouch in the corner and growl like a lion.  Messy blonde hair, squinted eyes, and teeth bared.  No joke.  Soon, I regretted taking her to see The Lion King as a 2 year old. 

When they were 7 and 5, Kjersti and Chloe were flower girls in our wedding.  I'll never forget the bittersweet feeling of leaving a home filled with the kids I loved (the girls, and also my brother Trevor, who was 15), and starting my life as a new wife in a quiet house with no kids.  That was a hard transition for me.  I remember standing at the kitchen sink in our little old house, washing dishes and wiping away the tears from missing them so Keith wouldn't know.  They spent the night with us often, but for a long time, I felt like I'd deserted them, and hoped it didn't hurt them like it did me.

But here we are...lots of years later...and my sisters have grown to become beautiful women. Kjersti quit wearing the Jasmine pajamas eventually, and Chloe stopped growling somewhere along the way.  

There is so much happiness in knowing that whether we are near or far, whether our interests are the same or different, or whether we talk once a day or once a month, we have the bond of sisterhood that connects us.  A sister truly is a friend forever.
As for my sisters, I've had the privilege of watching them grow from tiny babies to adulthood.  They are aunts, but more like sisters, to my own boys who adore them.  They laugh often.  They are loyal friends.  They are both full of kindness, touching the lives of all they meet.

I think that God has a way of growing our appreciation for the important things in our lives.  When both my sisters were born, I didn't think I could be any happier.  But now that we are all grown, I can say I'm more thankful for them than ever before. :)

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