i've been searching for the right words to share with my sisters for a long time now. a synopsis, if you will, of the things i've learned from my mistakes/lessons. after reading this post by hallie at among other things, and nodding through it all, i feel like these are all the things i've been trying to say.
i became a big sister right before my third birthday, so i don't really ever remember a time when i wasn't a big sister. casee and i were close, and corinne was our little doll. over the years the three of us would take turns ganging up on each other, corinne and casee on me, me and corinne on casee...wait, as i'm writing this, i'm realizing casee and i never really ganged up on corinne. hmmmm...i'm sensing a pattern here.
anyway, no matter how much the three of us argue (and trust me, there is a lot of arguing), we always have each other's backs. from my sister driving all the way across town to pick me up after a particularly ugly argument with my parents, to me always answering their middle of the night phone calls (when those used to happen often, now they're few and far between). there are days when i want nothing more than to sit on the couch watching tv with the two of them. they're my whole life and my whole heart, and if i were to ever fall in love again, i would hope the man i loved understood that corinne and casee are always going to be number one. we are bound by blood and history and love.
we've all experienced disappointment, and heartbreak. every time one of them is going through something tough, i want to be the woman in the "when my sister calls me crying" meme. i'm not kidding. this is not a joke. but, i can't. i can't beat up every bully that picks on them. can't run every douche bag ex-boyfriend off a cliff with my parents suburban. so i try to listen when they need to talk and ask questions when it feels like they're keeping too much in and give them advice when i can. advice that i would've wanted to hear when i was going through something similar. knowing that it may get stored away for a later date, because we are all as equally stubborn and have to figure it out on our own. i just want them to know that every time there is a mountain to climb, the reward is in the journey and then the realization once you've made it to the peak that you've survived the worst of it.
all i want for my sisters is success and happiness. i know how smart they are, what beautiful little souls they have. i know they deserve so much more than what they believe they deserve, so much more than the very best in life. i'd fight every day of my life just to be able to help them get there and i never want them to have to struggle without also having me to lean on. it's why i agreed to work on a project with them, why i offer help with school, or watching my nephew, or working out, why i might pay for lunch or dinner or a drink on occasion. there are no two people in this world i care about more than the two of them.
i want them to know that even though something might seem minuscule, treat it as though it is all that matters that day. when you start to rack up completed tasks, your sense of accomplishment afterwards will give you such a rush. and you may have to sacrifice a hell of a lot to get to where you want to go, but don't be lazy about it. don't sit and wait for the future to come to you. live in the present, do what you have to day-to-day to get to where you want to be a week from now, a month from now, a year from now, five years from now.
i want them to know that it's not always going to be rainbows and butterflies. some days are harder and heavier than others. but remember who you are. you are a descendant of survivors. you come from a long line of strong, independent, honest, hardworking women, and the strong-willed men who loved them. remind yourself of that. your legacy is their legacy. and so the legacy of our children and grandchildren.
and there will be more heartbreak. there will be boys, and friends, who don't deserve you. you have to let them go, baby girls. for your own happiness, success, and sanity. and it will hurt and it will be hard. and you will falter, but you will be so much better for it. and a man will come who doesn't make you feel like a caged bird. he will make your heart sing, and love you unconditionally, and almost as much as your other sister and i do. and he will realize that you don't need him, and love and respect you all the more for it.
anyway, all of this is to say that they are stronger than they realize, and they will never need anyone to get them to the next level. they have it all in their hearts already. and i hope, as a big sister and a best friend hopes, that they realize their worth, that they make good, healthy choices, choices that will make their lives and their children's lives better. and that they know that i am here, every step of the way, no matter what happens, what they do or don't do, whoever comes, whoever goes, i'll always be constant.
and hopefully for them to learn to change the damn toilet paper roll.