The final day of family week is here!
The best way the describe my sister and I is that we’re exactly the same and incredibly different. We have very similar interest but completely different personalities. On speaker with her a few weeks ago, her friends explained how to them it sounded like she was having a conversation with herself, that’s how similar we sound.
Hannah was born in ‘95 and I was born in ‘97 (yeah, I know). Being two years apart meant that we were constantly connected growing up. We had roughly the same friends, were interested in the same things. She matured first, but because she was mature I quickly followed suit. Don’t get me wrong, there were certainly the Bad Years. We were both terrible teenagers at the same time and we fought constantly for a few years
Now we’re closer than ever. That’s how sisterhood is.
I’ve written a lot about my sister. Don’t worry, I can’t shut up about her off the internet either. She’s been a parent, a companion, a partner-in-crime, a best friend. She’s the one I call first when I’m feeling homesick or something’s wrong.
I can send her a completely obscure text in the middle of the night and she’ll get it. I can ask her some totally random question and she’ll answer without questioning. I can stay up all night with her watching the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings movies.
Some of the best times of my life are driving aimlessly around with all the windows rolled down and terrible sugar-pop blasting through the speakers. Laughing at bad jokes in McDonalds so late it’s morning. Movie premiers, trips to the beach in the rain, burger runs. My concept of family and to a greater extent happiness is inextricably linked to her.
In one of my classes we had to pick a stance on a series of moral questions. One of them concerned where your loyalties lie– government or family– and how strong.Me? I’m ride or die, baby. All the way til’ the end.
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My relationship with my mom has been turbulent at best. Now that I have the gift of hindsight I’m just so embarrassed about how I act towards her when I was a teenager. It was bad, to say the least.
I may or may not have mentioned this before but my parents divorced when I was thirteen, which is just a terrible age in general, even worse when your life falls apart before your eyes. And… I blamed my mom. I blamed her for walking out on us, even though she didn’t. I just couldn’t understand the sacrifices she was making. For my sister and I, for myself. For two years she lived in a terrible place that could only be described as a cabin, with no heat, just so she could be close to us. But I didn’t want to see her. I can’t imagine how awful the way I acted made her feel.
I don’t deserve her. All things considered I’ve been a terrible daughter to a mother who has done nothing but love me. She drove me to school almost every day the year between my sister going to college and me getting my license (this was no small thing– by then she’d moved twenty minutes away, forty with the terrible morning traffic). She was always willing to make me food when dad hadn’t gone grocery shopping, bought me food, sent me sweet text messages in the middle of the day.
She’s also so strong. I wanted to write this before Breast Cancer Awareness month was over, because my mom had breast cancer twice. The first time was in the midst of when I hated her, and I hardly knew anything about it. Imagine having to deal with the contempt of your daughter and fucking cancer at the same time. But she did, and was fine. Until the cancer came back, that is. This time I was older, our relationship was mostly repaired but she still suffered largely without me knowing (don’t worry, one double mastectomy later, she’s fine).
It’s so easy for us to go through life without ever thinking about the things our parents sacrifice for us without our knowing. It’s so easy to never say thank you, to never give anything back. And that’s fucked up. I want to be a better daughter. I want to give the love my mom gave to me back to her.
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