This is the third post in the You Should Read This First series that I’m doing for my family.  It’s about time–I’ve been trying to get this done since June.  This one is for the best big sister that anyone could ask for (and the one I am attempting to write the book blog with).

1) You are the best shoulder to cry on. When it was hardest with Mom, you were there to understand us both.  When it was just plain hard anyway, you were there to offer a hug and a shoulder and some kleenex.

2) I’m sorry I slapped you.  I STILL remember that handprint on your face–how bright red it was.  I have no idea how to fix that, but I am so sorry.  I should have been better about learning how to navigate our differences.  I should have known that you were just trying to do your best.  I know that now, and I am sorry.

3) Reading in the dark is the best.  One of the few memories of our living in the same room that’s peaceful is reading by the light of the moon.  And keeping an ear out for Mom coming down the hall.  And perfecting pretending to sleep when she did.  (Which, come to think, I don’t think we actually fooled her.  Mom was nice enough to let us have it.)  I hope my children also have the best accomplices they could ask for in their siblings.  Those small rebellions make for close bonds later on.  Also, how in the WORLD did you not end up with glasses after all that?

4) I LOVE having you here again.  And by here, I mean healthier and able to participate in life.  It’s not that you abandoned us or hated us or disappeared in any way, but it feels like I have my sister back after so many years.  And that is completely amazing.  I’m so glad that you found something that could work for you and you have your life again.  I missed you and I missed your life for you.

5) Coast to coast is no fun, but we did it.  That year I was in California and you were in DC, I was ready to throw something.  I HATED not being able to talk to you regularly or for any long time.  And I love that you worked so hard to keep in touch.  Also, the fact that when you were evacuated from your dorm due to some idiot potsmoker one floor up/down, you decided to call me–that was some serious warm fuzzies.  I appreciate all your efforts to stay in touch with me the years we’ve been separated due to school.  I never felt a lack of big sisterly love.

6) You protected me as best you could.  This is true all through my childhood and teenage years.  You were a GREAT older sister.  You did your best to protect me from bullies and ridicule and from losing faith.  It didn’t always work, but you did the very best that could be asked.  But specifically, this is about that babysitter when I was in second grade.  You tried so hard.  I know you did.  And I know that she punished you for trying so hard by forcing you to be an accomplice  to her abuse–she stopped short of making you join in, but I know it was so hard for you to watch or be asked to fetch things for her to hit me with. You were terrified of her along with me.  But when it came time, when I finally couldn’t stand it anymore, you were the one who raced up the stairs after me.  You were the one who put your arms around me and told me I HAD to tell the parents what was going on.  You were the one who told me no one was going to let her get close enough to kill me, or even hurt me ever again.  You were the one who ignored her fear and pain so that the fear and pain of your little sister would stop.  And I know, given the chance in our adult lives, you would continue to protect me if you could.

7)  We will always have letters.  I’m sure Mom has no idea how two of her children that she practically had to pull teeth to get to write thank you notes turned out to love writing letters.   But we did.  That summer you were away was NO FUN, except for the letters.  I still remember when you decided your letter wasn’t long enough and bulked it up with two pages of Cheers quotes. Or the Harry Potter 6 review you sent me.  I love stuff like that and REALLY enjoy re-reading them even now.

8) Chambers was AWESOME.  I came into that choir known as your little sister, which really didn’t hurt my reputation at all.  Having people know who I was and the musical background I came from allowed them to trust me faster.  Also, it was just fun being able to share the songs and adventures and love together.  Even during the bad times, you and I made it fun.

9) Thanks for sharing your friends.  You are incredibly good at this. Your friends were mine in high school and your friends now are sure friends of the family.  You’re just good at bringing your friends into the entire family and I, for one, really appreciate that.

10) I like pockets.  I do.  I really do.   Even better, I like the inside jokes and ridiculous moments and adorable funsies.  That’s what being a sister is all about.