One of my goals this year was to try to appreciate my loved ones a little more. One of the ways I want to do that is to write about each member of my family on their birthday. I want to take the time to really think about the relationships I have with them and what they mean to me. I want to highlight the ways they make my life better and the reasons why I love them so much.
The first birthday of the year belongs to my little sister Tonya. Out of a total of five siblings, three sisters and two brothers, I am the oldest, and Tonya is second in line. She’s four years younger than me so growing up there were times where we had a lot in common and times when the four years difference made us strangers to each other. I have always felt especially close to her though, ever since my father left when I was little and I had to help my mom take care of the kids.
I love all my siblings equally but she is the one who experienced the same childhood as me. I took care of her daily while my mom worked. I kept her safe and cooked her dinner. We fought sometimes but we were always in it together. Part of why I feel so close to her is because I think of her as a witness to the hardships I went through. I think of her as proof that what happened was real. And because we have been through a lot together she probably knows me better anyone besides my girlfriend. Not that I easily let myself be known by anyone in my family.
In my family, by quiet agreement, we tend to only show each other a small part of who we are. We are reluctant to share much for fear of looking stupid or being made fun of. Or maybe it’s only me that feels that way because Tonya shares a lot of what she feels and does. I am always very interested in her life. In fact, I live vicariously through her in many ways. From what I’ve seen of her she is smart, strong, and very determined. She wants to be a good mother and have a business doing what she loves. I respect that and support every decision she has made.
I mean, she was the first one in the family to go to college and has recently started up her own blog and opened a store on Etsy. She has a good head on her shoulders and I admit, for most of our lives she was way ahead of me. More mature and had a better handle on her life and the direction she wanted to go in.
As much as I admire her I do worry I don’t know her very well, or that I don’t take enough time to be a good sister to her. Our relationship is a bit different from other sisters. We aren’t the type to call each other a whole lot, or even sit up all night together venting about our lives. But we also don’t have any drama between us. I hear other people complain about their sisters, saying they are “bitches” or judging their life choices. Me and Tonya would never think that way about each other. There is just no reason for us to fight, we accept each other for who we are.
I have always felt like we had a quiet connection. We both know the other will always be there, so we can relax and see each other or talk whenever. When I need her she is there. We work together to keep an eye on our mother. We joke together about our mother too. We talk about our feelings about our father, his absence in our childhood and his efforts to build a relationship with us now. We get together every week to visit and chit-chat and update each other on our lives.
She is the mother of my two favorite kids in the whole world, My six-year-old nephew, Jordan, and my one-year-old niece Morgan. They are beautiful kids, smart and funny, and she is a wonderful mother. I have enjoyed watching them grow and hearing her talk about the joys and misery of pregnancy and motherhood.
I imagine that I feel for her the way twins must feel about each other. She is a comfort to me and if anything ever happened to her I’d be devastated. I feel like there isn’t much I can offer her in return as a sister. She has made a good life for herself and I am here should she ever need me. I wish I had been a better sister when we were kids but I hope she knows I did my best. For now I just try to know her and be a good aunt to her kids.
And for today, on her 26th birthday, I wish her all the best. I wish her all the happiness and I hope she gets everything she wants. I hope her kids continue to be happy and healthy, I hope her family stays happy and strong they way they are now. And I hope she knows I love her and I couldn’t have asked for a better sister to share my childhood with.