You are currently browsing the daily archive for July 4, 2009.
It is one thing to learn from older, “wiser” women the ends and outs of womanhood, but it isn’t always the way we learn the most important lessons of self. I spent many hours alongside my grandmothers and my aunt Sharon getting advice and stories of mistakes made and lessons learned. They were hours where I laughed until I hiccuped or cried with guilt or regret. However, there is one lesson that I have learned that is a big part of the woman I am today, and that lesson I learned from my sister who is only 9 months and 2 days older than I am and my very best girlfriend. She taught me what it means to be independent – self reliant. I have mentioned her several times over the last few weeks of posts, but with the July 4th holiday I’m thinking of her more. We always got together on the fourth for the kids to play, cooking out, and fireworks. Unfortunately, this year she is four hours away and we are both busy ladies.
Her anniversary is in July too, as this picture reminds me. We were put on the same road when I was 8 and she was 9. Our parents married each other, and made two average sized families a family of six. A literal Brady bunch. From the get-go, we loved each other. I’ll never forget one of the first days we spent together. We argued over some minor issues. Sorting out the hows and whys of us ending up sisters. We decided to have an organized fight. We hit each other hard over and over again on the bicep, taking turns. Afterward, we compared bruises and decided that we were both very tough girls therefore each worthy of the others friendship. It was then, we became two peas in a pod.
We were both just at the right age to understand what had happened to the families we were born into, and the family that we had become. Together we made sense of things, cried, laughed, and played like nobody’s business. Another important moment was a night during the half-time of a ballgame when I was in the sixth grade. My sister stood in the hallway with an audience of about twenty kids. She was singing a Madonna song (as she loved to do) – “La Isla Bonita” I believe it was. I was awestruck at that moment at her confidence. She was beautiful and she knew it. Not to the point where she was conceited with it, but in a way that made her shine. Self confidence isn’t something that is inherent in my family, especially when it comes to physical appearance. My sister worked that crowd, and while I didn’t want to join her in the spotlight, I was glad to watch her. It was then, that I learned the significance of believing in ourselves. Deciding to do something and then giving it our best effort.
My sister became a mother when we were still kids. It was a time of unsureness and great excitement. She had always dreamed of being a mother. It was just coming a little sooner than it was supposed to. Judgment and blame flew all around her, but she didn’t hang her head for a second in front of anyone. I was in the waiting room when her baby girl was born. She had given birth naturally. I was an aunt, and we both fawned over that little bundle. She did what was best for that baby, breastfeeding her even at that young age. She took her role as mother seriously, and knew it was the most important job she would ever have. I moved to live with my dad not long after my niece was born, and I didn’t see my sister as often. But, we caught up when we could. My sister graduated high school and moved on to college. I wasn’t far behind her. We ended up attending the same university.
It was inspiring to me that she moved through these huge stages of her life just as I did, and was a great mother all at the same time, not missing a beat. She attended classes and mothered her daughter with her own familial support system hours of driving away. Sure, there are things that we can look back on now and say it wasn’t the best, but it worked then, and it got her through with a college degree and a confident daughter.
While we were in college, her son was born. I got to be the birth coach. We went to Lamaze. Everyone thought we were a couple. I witnessed her birth a second child naturally and it was a glorious event. I watched once again as she put her wants and dreams second to her mothering, but didn’t give them up. By that time, I was married and John and I had purchased a trailer and moved it into a trailer park close to the university. My sister moved one in for herself across the street. Those were the days…
After graduating college, I got a job teaching middle school outside of the east Kentucky mountains. John and I ended up in Louisville. My sister’s mother lives there, and my sister decided to join us. Since moving there, she’s married, had another baby (whom I got to coach into the world too), become a professional in early childhood development and education, and is now a graduate of an LPN nursing program with the goal of getting an RN. John and I moved back to the mountains after our attempts at city living never set right. My sister stayed put with her family, and continues to inspire me with what she is able to accomplish simply because she knows she can – with a little help from God.
See, it isn’t the simplest thing – life. We are all born with gifts and weaknesses. It is the consideration we give to ourselves and the choices we make that will see us through when we don’t think we can make it. It is the knowing that within you is the ability to change – to move and adjust to what is introduced into the scheme. To know that there is a purpose bigger than your human capabilities and that all you can do is try because if you fail, it’s not the end of the world. It is time to readjust. Thank you sister.