I was going to try to write a poem, but the rhyme isn't coming today. So instead, I'll share memories.
There are some bits of our family legend that I don't remember clearly. I vaguely remember getting into Mom's make-up drawer and coloring your face with her lipstick. And the memory is hazy for the time I got Mom's scissors and cut your hair. I think I'm glad that she came in before you could cut mine. I have memories of you in your playpen, holding onto the side while I wanted to play with you.
But there are stronger memories as we got older. I remember playing outside with you. We'd run around the front yard, pretending it was a giant castle. The area between the hedges and the driveway were a secret passage we'd take. We used to spend so much time on the swing set out back. And we'd play "Dukes of Hazzard" while we were there. I seem to remember you were always Daisy and I was always Luke.
There was a year when you wore dresses to school every single day. Mom didn't make you. It's what you wanted to do.
And then there was the time that I was taking a bath and you were holding Kit Kat while you talked to me. He scratched you and you dumped him into the bath tub with me. I still remember the scratches.
It seems like we fought all the time. Each of us would try to get each other in trouble. And my anger would get the better of me and I took it out on you. I'm sorry, Den. I never should have. But I also remember that, if anyone else would try to pick on you, I'd want to wade in as your protector. You may have been my annoying little sister, but you WERE my little sister. And no one was going to mess with you.
I remember one year making a card for Mom & Dad's anniversary from the lace on our nightgowns and box bottoms from Valentine's Cards. I can remember sitting with you on our beds, putting these together as a surprise.
After I moved away to live with Dad, I had you stuck as 13 in my brain. I couldn't imagine the sixteen year old that was there when I came back the year I graduated from High School. You were working at the Diner on the weekends. You were DATING. It just didn't seem possible. (And then there was the whole getting sick after the graduation party thing. I REALLY couldn't believe that one.)
I'd been jealous of you when we were kids. You were thin, you were pretty and everyone seemed to like you. I don't know if I ever told you, but I really wanted to be like you then. And sometimes, even now, I want to be like you.
I don't think we've grown close now that we've gotten older, but the fighting has stopped (could you imagine us fighting now the way we did then?) And we can talk about grown up things like grown up people. When did we grow up? When did we get families?
I don't know if I've ever said it, or if it matters much to you, but I'm proud of you, Den. I'm proud to have such a smart, hardworking sister who is doing (mostly) what she wants to. I'm proud to have a sister who is raising two wonderful kids. I'm so lucky to have such a great sister.