Tuesday, February 10, 2009


My sister is five years younger than me. In spite of this age difference, we really got along very well as children and played together a lot. Occasionally, when I was between 10 and 13, I didn't like her tagging along with me and my friends but mostly, we got along just fine. As my mother would say, we were EXPECTED to do so.

I went off to college when she was 12. After that, our relationship changed. She became much more independent and sure of herself. For the first time, she had our parents to herself. At the same time, I found out how much I missed her while I was so far away from home. We went from getting along well as sisters to becoming best friends.

When she went off to college, she came to live with me as my place was closer to the university than our parents' house. For seven truly wonderful years, we lived together in a nice apartment in the city. At first, we didn't have much -- she was on scholarship at school and I was at the beginning of my career -- but we had a lot of fun. Later as we became more financially secure, we did so many delightful things together from going out to dinner, to movies, to see a Broadway musical, to opera at the university and many other activities. Those were our halcyon days as sisters.

Then came a time in my career when I was traveling almost constantly and she was teaching school. It was during this time when she met the man who would become her husband. I was maid of honor at her wedding and while I was very happy for her, I was sad for me. I felt at the time that was losing a sister not gaining a brother. I felt the distance between us keenly. It was the emotional distance not a physical one and while it was necessary, it wasn't pleasant.

They moved to Colorado for a few years. I went to visit when I could and we kept in touch via the telephone and email. My beautiful niece was added to the equation six years ago. I loved seeing my sister become a mother. When my niece was three, they moved back to our state. It is a six hour drive from our house to their house but closer than Colorado.

Then two wonderful things happened: instant messaging and my own marriage. My sister works on a computer doing medical transcription and I work on a computer doing case management. We both have instant messaging so while we work, we can also talk to each other. This has allowed us to have a relationship more like it was when we lived with each other. We can "talk" to each other every day. Also, I got married in April and my situation and hers have become more similar. We can talk to each other not only as sisters but as wives.

A few days ago, while she was out running, my sister was knocked down and mauled by a dog (Rottweiler/Boxer mix, thanks for asking). She was bitten rather badly, bruised up and shaken up. Fortunately, all's well that ends well but it gave us all a big scare. We have all gone down the "what if" road of this situation and haven't liked what we have seen at the end of it. My dad said it was a sobering reminder of why it is so important to pray for each other. None of us had any idea that this was going to happen but Providence knew and protected her.

I am so thankful for my sister. Now if I could just have a few minutes alone with the owner of that dog, I would feel better.

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