Wednesday, July 20, 2011


"Stop it!"

"I said stop it!"


"What's going on?" I turned my head around to see what was going on in the back seat behind me as we waited in line for my daily fix of Chick-fil-A sweet tea (split with extra ice).

"He's pointing at my finger and saying, 'Finger!'" my 13-year-old daughter said, looking angrily at her 10-year-old brother.

"Oh, my gosh!" I exclaimed in mock horror. "Son, I thought I raised you better than that! How dare you?"

Of course, they both laughed at the absurdity of it all. And though finger pointing (so to speak) wasn't really a big deal, I did acknowledge that it was the little things that can sometimes drive a person mad -- especially when it comes to siblings.

I grew up with a sister four and a half years younger than I. I have to admit, I wasn't always very nice to her. I didn't want her to touch my stuff, especially a tape recorder I got one year. I remember this because, as an adult, I found a long-lost tape, and on it is my sister's voice, whispering, "This is Leigh's tape-a-ma-corder. I'm not supposed to be on it!"

I guess it was just too much for her to resist.

I also didn't want her to follow me and my friends around -- until we got bored. Then I'd call on my sister for entertainment. You see, she was a great gymnast and could do 12 back handsprings in a row, dozens of round-off back handsprings and pull-ups. She was also the fastest runner on the block. I'd have her line up against all of the neighborhood boys. She'd take off her shoes, and as soon as I said "Go!" she'd run like the wind, leaving them confused and demanding a rematch.

My sister was also very strong for her age. She'd ride me around on the back of her bike, pull me around in whatever toy I was in, and even swim underwater like a dolphin while I rode on her back. I'm sure I never thanked her for it.

And though I can recall many times complaining to my parents "she's looking at me," I was always glad to have her there. We spent many hours listening to records and singing at the top of our lungs. My sister could (and still can) do spot-on imitations of anyone -- mannerisms and all. Never did I appreciate it more than when my mom had a stroke four years ago. My sister's imitation of the little prissy nurse who was rude to us had us laughing until our sides hurt, despite how dire the situation with my mom was at the time.

She's also one of the most caring people I've ever met. Let's just say she has a lot of Mom in her (no offense, Dad). Not only does she care about people, she adores animals -- big and small. I can remember her befriending strange horses and other creatures we'd encounter as children.

Today, she's a grown woman with a family of her own. She is living a good 4,000 miles or more away in Alaska. We called each other recently just to say hello and ended up talking for two hours. My parents were concerned about the bears when she moved, but knowing my sister like I do, they have nothing to worry about. She'll have them eating out of her hands in no time.

So, I hope she'll forgive me for getting exasperated with her as a kid, 'cause the truth is I could not have asked for a better friend -- then and now. I hope my children will grow up and feel the same way about each other. Until then, I'll referee and remind them that one day, when I'm old, they'll be happy to have each other. Who better to complain about their crazy mom to?

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