If you have children, this might be an easy question to answer.
My family consists of my sister Laura. My father is still alive but too many opportunities have proven that blood does not always run thicker than water. I have my eldest sister Annisa, who can’t remember as far back as five minutes. I have my Grandma Joyce who is in the first stages of alzheimer’s. She’s the most fiery person I’ve ever known but that fire is dwindling by the second.
My sister Laura and I have always been a team. Distance has not disconnected us. She’s five years my senior but might as well be my twin. I know what she’s thinking before she thinks it, and she finishes my sentences before I utter a word. The sound of her laughter brings me ethereal joy, and her pain launches me in to the depths.
Laura is the toughest one of our clan (outwardly) but the disdain from our father more than singled her out. Her willful spirit was a thing to be crushed, as it didn’t fit in to the subservient role of a woman.
My little, adoring eyes looked on as my strong sister sought out men who were abusive, and just like our father. She didn’t know that she was repeating a pattern. She didn’t know how lovely she was/is.
I was 17 and all of 98 pounds when she appeared on the doorstep of my family’s home in the country. She was 22 and eight months pregnant. The fear in her voice was palpable as she banged on the screen door. Her soon-to-be ‘baby daddy’ had slammed on the breaks, bashing her pregnant belly up against the dash because she was singing along with a song on the radio.
The song was ‘Can’t Find A Better Man’ by Pearl Jam
She had walked two miles in her cumbersome state, and was resting on the couch when ‘baby daddy’ banged on the door. All fear was replaced by valor and adrenaline as I stood before the 6’3″, 180 pound predator. On my tip-toes, I looked him as squarely in the eye as I could and said: “If you ever hurt my sister again, I’ll kill you”.
I’ve said a lot of things in my life but that moment stands out as a time that I was serious about backing up a threat.
Laura eventually went back to him, and I stood by (not-so-silently) as I watched her endure many abusive relationships there after.
It’s only now, as she’s approaching forty, that she’s beginning to understand her worth. My sister is stunningly gorgeous. She’s timeless. She’s the only one who inherited the jutting Cherokee cheekbones and ski-slope nose of our mother. I think she’s always known her physical beauty. Watching her emerge from beyond that, and rooting herself in strength, has been a thing of beauty in and of itself.
My strong and beautiful sister has raised three impressive kids on her own. Her kids will never know her sacrifice (she wouldn’t wish that on them).
My sister is my idol. She’s the best part of me. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her. I would gladly lay my life down.
Who would you lay your life down for?