I have this little sister; well actually I have 3 younger and one older, all fabulous; but this one in particular, who is the heart of the family. Somehow she keeps us all together. Quietly, she acts like the centre of the web, with all the threads cast out from her, holding onto us, keeping us attached. We all have threads weaving between us, in all directions and at odd angles, but it is her’s you can always count on to reach us all and to hold tight in the wind.
Before our other sister went to Thailand, she posted her some “Bats”, Thai money. Including postage it cost less that £20, but the thought and the time were priceless. She forced me to book hostels in advance of travelling around Canada, and to write these all down for her so she could keep track in case I went missing. It was her map that guided my boyfriend and I this summer on a 7,000 km road trip from Southern Alberta to Mount Rushmore to Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan and home. The waste company send her the text to remind my parents to put out the recycling, even though she lives in a different country. She Skypes, Facetimes, phones, texts, e-mails; she remembers little things like a long run, or her nephew’s first day at playschool, or what her niece dressed up as 2 Halloweens ago.
For some reason, she inherited more of our mother’s features than any of us and I always believed that is why my father loves her more. She has a kindness I have neither the ability, energy nor fullness of heart to imitate. She is working on her Masters while helping out at Brownies, training for a half marathon, and wonders if she is giving enough. When we say, “we should do that sometime”, she comes back with a time, date and place.
She also manages to eat small portions of food and to thoroughly enjoy every (little) bite. This, for me, is like a superpower, and I often just watch her and wonder how. I also take the opportunity to grab a fork and eat her food.
I’m sure growing up we fought though the only memory I have of her ever upsetting me is biting my bum when she was 1. She was just old enough to stand, and somehow walked up behind me, aged 6, and bit. The shock still gets me, 24 years later. For her first week of primary school, aged just 4, she cried her heart out, and I was allowed to have her sit beside me in my classroom. Then one morning, Miss. Ferry lifted her from me. I cried until I could check on her during our 11 o’ clock break. She had survived, and from then on she went to her own class.
On her first day of secondary school, my friend advised me that my worrying was pointless; the fears I had for her may come true, but I was unable to protect her, and she would deal with them as the rite of passage we all must endure.
So, instead I watched as she grew up confident and capable, kind and caring. She has kept the goodness and grew it to wisdom. She ran a 10km with me and then a half marathon. I say with, but she was out in front, leading me on. She introduced me to the wonderful world of Harry Potter and it was apt that our goodbye before my travels was a midnight viewing of his final movie. I sometimes make a stand based on principle; she rolls her eyes and advises with sense.
I told her I was struggling with writing and she challenged me to give her a story reminiscing. So here I am Lou, reminiscing about you.
See you at Christmas, we’ll read Harry Potter again.