Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

June 6, 2014

How a sister became a friend

Kokomo Tribune

---- — If you would have told 10-year-old me that my little sister and I would someday become best friends, I would have laughed in your face.

And if you’d told that younger version of myself that I’d soon miss sharing a bed with the precocious blonde who’d accidentally wake me up with a foot to the face, I’d call you crazy.

Then years later, I’d eat my words. Because as it turns out, she is my best friend, and there are days I miss being close enough to share a bed and stay up late at night discussing what the shadows on the ceiling look like to us.

Folks, let me tell you now, no one will ever understand you like a sister does.

At 10 years old, though, all I knew is that no one could make you mad quite like a sister. Kelsey and I had some ferocious screaming matches that lasted for hours and ended with us not speaking to each other. Most of them revolved around chores.

You see, Kelsey didn’t like to work. Mom would leave us a list of chores to do, and I would immediately complete my half of the list. Kelsey would wait, and wait and wait some more.

It became a constant game of chicken. She knew if she waited long enough, I’d finish the chores myself because if they weren’t finished in time, we’d both be in trouble.

It INFURIATED me. I did a few things out of anger that I’m not proud of – including spilling the Santa secret to her when she was only in kindergarten. Sorry sis.

In those moments of anger, it was hard to remember ever liking my baby sister. I’d pretend she was the most annoying person in the world, until I wanted to play with her again. And boy could we play.

We spent hours creating our own dance to Tim McGraw’s “I like it, I love it,” played with our baby dolls until bedtime many nights and took turns teaching each other at the school we created in our home office. We developed the “special touch” that would make our kittens fall right to sleep. It worked EVERY time. We sipped hot water from mugs because we swore it tasted exactly like coffee and drinking coffee was cool. Once, we even used cookie cutters to carve circles out of a slice of bread to create our own communion wafers. We hosted our own church service. (SIDE NOTE: I used to dream of becoming a priest until I realized it wasn’t open to women).

Eventually, mock church services and pretend school days gave way to shopping trips and movie dates. Instead of lying in bed discussing shadow shapes, we’d talk about boys or school drama.

But I took it all for granted until one day those things didn’t happen anymore. To be fair, it’s my fault they stopped. I moved four hours away.

Now we get text messages, sporadic phone calls and visits maybe once a month. Ironically, now instead of thinking of her as my annoying sister, I think of her as a friend – just one I don’t get to see often enough.

So when I planned a girl’s trip to downtown Indy last weekend for her birthday, I knew it would be a gift for me, too.

I was right. I had her undivided attention for two whole days, and it was just like old times. We laughed until we cried as we told old stories, including one about her driver’s education teacher falling asleep during a ride with students.

We even shared a bed both nights. I’m happy to report there were no feet in faces this time.

When Sunday came, I didn’t want her to leave. We had so much more to catch up on. But that’s life I guess.

The moral of this story is that you should hug your sister every chance you get, even if you think she’s annoying. Someday she will become your friend, and by then, it might be too late.

— Lindsey Ziliak

[friday] editor / proud big sister