I have four siblings. Three brothers and a sister. Yeah, I have quite a few step siblings as well, but for the purpose of what I want to write about today, I have four siblings. Four siblings who all somehow are bigger and taller than me, despite the fact that only three of them are actually older than me.
Boy, girl, boy, girl, boy.
My parents got the perfect deal. If you overlook the fact that they had five kids within seven years, and for the expanse of their twenties there was always somebody in diapers or pull-ups. Not the way I want to spend my twenties, but my parents pulled through.
One side effect of so many children in such little time, is that we were all always on top of each other. The biggest age-gap between any of us is the three years between my sister, Jenna, and our second brother in the line, Brayden (the brother immediately before me). Other than those two the rest of us all have less than two years between us.
Another side effect of so many children in such little time, is that my siblings are my best friends. And for some time in my life, they were my only real friends. I am close with my siblings. I talk to them. I laugh with them. I spend time with them. I am friends with them.
Early this year (February), my only sister, Jenna, got married (to an incredible man) and moved to Florida. With no return date. Saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. My sister and I, even if we didn’t always get along, were close. We talked. When things happened and I need comfort or guidance I would go to her and vis versa.
And then she moved to Florida. Saying goodbye to her hurt, and moving on and living without her hurt. And for a while there was a constant ache, I was continuously missing her. I would write down the little things that I wanted to tell her on our next phone date. Funny stories from school, or something that happened at church, or a joke one of my friends told me. I actively missed her, all the time. It was always present.
And then one day I heard a funny joke and I didn’t write it down to tell her. And then there were days and eventually weeks between our texting conversations.
And when a cool thing happened at youth group, I texted my best friend, not my sister.
And eventually one day, the active ache, the constant missing her, the never ending reminder that she moved, wasn’t there anymore.
I still missed my sister, but it wasn’t constant. I could laugh without looking around for her.
And eventually, my new normal wasn’t new. It was just normal.
The family pictures that were just me and the brothers, didn’t seem like a puzzle with a missing piece anymore. And I stopped checking to make sure there was food without chocolate.
And now, six months later, I forgot to even tell my sister that I had to go to urgent care this week.
I go about my life. Work, friends, church, family, babysitting, volunteering, and if I think of it I’ll text my sister. But there are Somedays when I don’t realize that this hasn’t always been my normal. I don’t realize that something’s missing. I don’t remember that I used to share this queen size bed with somebody. And I forget that I used to have to eat the chocolate out of somebody’s cookies. I forget. Until something happens. Until she calls me. Until somebody asks me how she is. Until I go to a restaurant and see her favorite food on the menu. Until she posts something on Instagram about missing me, and then I feel a little bit guilty. Because for that day, until that moment, I forgot to miss her.
My siblings and I, August 2014.