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photo-1451471016731-e963a8588be8I tell her she’s like God – she’s just always been there.  I have no memory of her not being by my side, no childhood adventure of which she was not a part and no adult emotional landscape on which I did not invite her to accompany me.  She is my sister, my confidante, my very best friend.  

With only eighteen months separating our births, we were diapered together as babies, shared a room together as kids, double dated in college, were attendants in each other’s’ weddings and later became appointed legal guardians of each other’s children effective upon our deaths.

She is my sister, my confidante, my very best friend.

Because our dad was a pastor, moving to a new place to start a brand new life was an accepted norm of his profession.  The beautiful thing was that if I found myself in a new school, a different neighborhood, an unknown city or in unfamiliar cultural turf it really didn’t matter.  I still had my best friend.  She anchored my life, affirmed my identity and provided companionship wherever we were.

I have told my mother on more than one occasion that my sister is the best gift she ever gave to me.  In fact the wealth that sibling love brought to my quality of life was one of the main factors in my decision to have more than one child.  I longed for my children to experience this same richness of relationship my sister and I had known.   And now that both of our parents are gone we find comfort in remembering and recognizing in each other fragments of the ones we called Mom and Dad.

While it is true that not every set of siblings enjoy the same degree of closeness we do, having another human on the planet who shares your DNA, your history, your memories and sometimes your pain is still a unique and special gift.  

Visiting China, where the privilege of growing up sharing life with another child in the home is pretty much becoming extinct, gave me an interesting slant on the subject.  Our tour guide’s observation was that the children of his country are becoming increasingly spoiled and self centered since as the only child in the home the focus of two parents and four grandparents rests solely on him.  His other experience is that this socially mandated lifestyle creates a huge amount of stress and performance pressure for the “all our eggs are in one basket” offspring.  

Such beauty, honesty, trust, and sheer joy that I experienced in my initial female relationship is the basis for how I view women today.

Seeing the vast and dangerous overcrowding of that country, I am not making a judgment on their strict policies.  I am merely affirming and attesting to the blessing of being raised with another person who is a witness to your life. I often tell my sister that if something happens to her half of my childhood memory will be gone, as will half of my heart.  She is the puzzle piece that links me back to my beginning, the bridge that spans my experiences from then till now.  Who else could ever understand me in entirety the way she does?  Who else has been in my life longer than she?  Who else so closely embodies the mother and father I still deeply miss?  

Whether our great relationship is a result of our mother’s strict no fighting with your sister policy or just the natural outcome of two personalities that easily blend, I cannot say.  I only know that of her love and loyalty I am as certain as I am of the dawn bringing in a new day.

It is often said that God uses the hard things in our lives to cause good things to come forth.  It is my experience that He uses the good things as well.  As the older and bolder sister, I was automatically the protector of my shy and quiet younger one.  Now when I meet women who are weak, abused,uncertain or afraid I feel a fierce strength in me rising for that “little sister” and throw all the support I can her way.  

Such beauty, honesty, trust, and sheer joy that I experienced in my initial female relationship is the basis for how I view women today.  It has left me open and receptive, eager to engage.  I always say that “Every woman I meet has the potential of becoming my new best friend.” No judgment.  No barriers.  No walls to self protect. That’s all because of a little curly headed girl who, for me, was like God…she was just always there.