Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ice Cubes in a Glass of Water

My latest project is called House of Spinsters. Here is a blogified version of a piece of it. This one has a lot about my younger sister Sherry.

Your siblings don’t have to be your friends. Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. Of course you’ll always have some things in common: same parents, same upbringing, same last name, and so on. But such things are, when you really think about it, rather unimportant.

With each of my siblings—particularly my sisters—there was a specific phase of time where they really became my friends, rather than just the girls who shared my house. The most recent of which was with Sherry.

Sherry is the sibling that gets lost in the shuffle. Every large family has one of those. People will go through the list of names, knowing there are seven of us but they can only name six.  When we talk about Sherry, very often people will say, “Sherry? Now which one is Sherry again?”

It’s true. We joke about her being the forgotten child. For the most part, I don’t think she really cared. She was pretty shy and hated being center of attention. She was content to play alone and remain invisible. All through her childhood, she got her wish.

Then, one day, Sherry decided she had had enough of living in the shadows. One day she just grew up. Suddenly she was out, so out that people noticed her. It literally happened so fast we didn’t see it coming.

The kid who romped with the boys, fought with her younger brother, hated dresses and the color pink, was suddenly wearing make-up, having hour-long phone calls with girlfriends, talking about boys, caring about her clothes, her hair, and everything else.

She also developed what we affectionately referred to as a “’tude.” It’s that thing that happens to girls when they start to become women. It’s hard to describe. But all women know what it is and all men who have any experience with women know what it is.  ‘Tude is the best word for it. It’s the thing that makes your hips sway and makes your eyes light up when you get a new pair of shoes. It’s also the thing that gets blamed when you get so firey, stinkin’ mad or burst into tears and you have no idea why. It just happens. It’s just a ‘tude.

I had been best friends with Corrie and Lauren for a while. A few years later, Julie joined the ranks. We loved it. The four of us had a good thing going. Honestly, one of the best parts about living at home was that I got to be there for when Julie became a woman. I loved watching her sprout up. I loved watching as people outside of our family got to enjoy the girl that I enjoyed every day. The more confident she grew, the more fun she was to have around.

We never contemplated what it would be like to have Sherry join in the fun. Suddenly, the sister I thought would be little forever wasn’t so little anymore.

The thought of actually being friends with Sherry was so far down the road for me. She is ten years younger than I am. I never really thought we’d actually have anything close to a peer relationship. If I did, it was way in the future.

But from out of nowhere, Sherry was asking me how old was too old to marry. She talked to me about God, and she really had a relationship with Him. She was helping me get ready for parties, giving me advice on my wardrobe, and telling me she wouldn’t help me paint my nails because she always messed it up. The girl who used to have trouble coming up with things to say would sit in my room and talk for hours.

My mind didn’t envision what it would be like to be friends with Sherry. But now it does. Thinking about the friendships I have with Corrie, Lauren, and Julie, makes me wonder if it’s possible to have any more. Not that I can’t handle it. I can!

The strangeness of it all is this: I didn’t meet my best friends at school or at church. They just, grew up and became. It’s like they were born to be just that.

If feel like a glass of water that is full to the brim. Toss in an ice cube or two and the water spills over a little. Toss in four ice cubes—one for each of my sisters—and the cup overflows.

 

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