An older sister is a friend and defender - a listener, conspirator, a counsellor and a sharer of delights. And sorrows too.
For a few years, my sister and I shared the small room above. It was painted a pale purple at the time.
It was in this room that I remember watching "The Wizard of Oz" on a tiny television during one of the many times I was sick with asthma, and I remember lying in bed struggling to go to sleep on a Christmas Eve because my brother and sister swore they heard jingle bells outside the window and I was afraid Santa would pass us by because I was still awake.
Later my sons shared this room when we came to visit. A friend recently bought the twin beds my boys slept in for her own grandkids. My sister took the small table that sat between them and I brought my mom's cedar chest home with me.
Now it's empty, except for that lamp.
Except... it's not empty. I still see our full size bed with its spread and matching shams of purple roses. I see our twin beds made into trundles, with a little play space under one, filled with my stuffed animals. I see my boys snuggled under their blankets in their twin beds, a lamp on and books open, reading into the night and sleeping late the next day.
For the past few months, I've spent every Saturday at my parents' home, sorting through drawers and boxes and cabinets, trying to decide what to keep, what to toss, and what to sell.
But I haven't been alone. Through it all, my big sister has been by my side, as she always has when I've gone through something tough, helping to make a job I dreaded turn into a mission of love. A catharsis. I couldn't have done all of this without her help and support. Because of her I'm able to see that the love that was borne in that house will never fail. It's still there, but it's also in us. It's eternal.
I'm so grateful for her and for the hours I've been able to spend with her this summer, one Saturday at a time. She is truly proof that God loves me.
Today is her birthday. I hope it overflowed in blessings because she deserves to get back at least some of what she's given over the years.
Happy birthday, Brenda! I love you!