To my adopted extended family,
It’s funny, because you’re sort of my real extended family because Michael married Emily. So since he’s my brother-in-law and you’re his family, it’s like we’re family-tied. I have the hardest time trying to explain that to people. But my heart really gets it.
I guess it’s kind of weird that I’m almost 21 and yet today I was playing leapfrog with you. It’s a weird I can live with, though. Because you are some of the best things in my life. And when I say “my life” I don’t mean right now. I mean ever. Always. You are the best. I never could have imagined our current situation- you and me and Michael and Emily all living on the same property, two minutes’ drive or 6 minutes’ walk away. It’s just one example of how God takes things that scare me (moving to the country) and turns them into things I adore.
I’m so sore right now. When someone suggested we play football on our knees, I had this thought that I probably shouldn’t ruin my jeans. But I played anyway. Because I can buy new jeans and my sore knees will be back to normal tomorrow. But this? This absurd experience of scooting across a sandy field on our knees and looking laughably stunted as we tackle each other is going down in the venerated book of Good Times.
When we played Red Rover (my first time since age 8ish), I squeezed your hands tight- partially to keep our chain together, and partially because you are my favourite kids and I love feeling like your sister.
When we made hot chocolate from scratch, I sang Pompeii with you and was glad of the cold weather and warm friendship.
I’m just so thankful for you. My family and your family and the joining of us through Michael and Emily. Thanksgiving isn’t for few weeks yet, but I find myself feeling this way all the time. When you hold my sister close, Michael. When you show me how itunes works, Josh. When you break the line of scrimmage to run and keep Caleb from shutting his fingers in the car door, Andrew. When you half-hug me whenever we pass, Sam. When you quote the same phrase 3 times in a row, Noah. When you show me sandcastles, Abby. When you say “Grace! You’re home!” when I get to your house, Caleb.
I love you. I don’t always tell you stuff like this because I guess I’m afraid you’ll think I’m sentimental. And I am. But I don’t care. I look at your dirty faces and I see your patchwork hearts and I love you with everything God has made me and all the ample love with which he has deluged my soul. I don’t know what time will do to us, but I hope to keep you close. You are my family now. You and your parents and the new baby who has yet to make an appearance. The Lord has done great things for us and I hope you notice even the tiny ones- the brightness of the day-moon in the afternoon sky and the sprinkling of leftover cocoa powder on the counter and the way people laugh when they feel secure. I notice them and I remember them and I keep them locked up inside me so that whatever happens, wherever we go, whatever we become, I will always have a piece of you with me.
Good times indeed.
Three days after the wedding, we’ve finally cleared most of the evidence off the dining room table. My sister and my new brother are in Colorado on their honeymoon. I’m sure they’re having a beautiful time, and it makes me so happy to think of their happiness.
But you know what?
I miss her. I miss her desperately. I stood next to her and held her bouquet as she pledged herself to her man, and as they both dedicated their marriage to the Lord “for as long as we both shall live”. I smiled and cried. Because it hurts to let her go. “For as long as we both shall live”, we’ll never share a room again. “For as long as we both shall live”, I won’t wake up to her tiptoeing up to bed at midnight. “For as long as we both shall live”, I won’t have to sort her laundry. “For as long as we both shall live”, her towel won’t hang next to mine on the bathroom rack. For as long as we both shall live.
Saturday was a joyous occasion, full of hope for the future and gratefulness for God’s graciousness. The man she married is noble and wise, and I trust him to take care of my baby sister. She never looked so beautiful as she did in that pure white dress, in that pure white church, with her pure white heart.
I’ll miss her borrowing my clothes. I’ll miss sorting through her sheet music to find my own. I’ll miss laughing when she jams the sewing machine. I’ll miss talking until 5 in the morning. I’ll miss how she threw her laundry down the stairs, the way we absentmindedly harmonized in the kitchen, the living room, upstairs, outside. I’ll miss waking up and seeing her asleep in her bed, so exhausted from the day before, looking so adorable. I’ll miss the way she always asked me to scratch her back when she had asthma.
Now I can put my extra books on her vacated shelves. I don’t have to worry about her hearing me talk in my sleep and what I might say. I can keep the AC at whatever temperature I like. I can talk on the phone late at night. I don’t have to wait my turn for the bathroom. And if I cry myself to sleep, I don’t have to do it silently.
But I miss her. I miss my precious baby sister. I miss having to be strong for her, even when it hurt. I miss seeing her beautiful face every day.
She won’t be far.
I can still see her any time I like.
But “for as long as we both shall live”, it will never be the same. Sometimes, I don’t mind. I know that, in many ways, the best is yet to come.
But sometimes I miss her.