Friday, June 26, 2009

The Unlikely Messenger

Ok, so I'm falling into a cheesy trend of scheduling out my days of the week with fun little tasks to fulfill. The problem is that I frequent so many blogs and other people have such cute ideas that I feel compelled to participate!!! So here's my latest, with my own spin.

Introducing: Flashback Fridays.

I think it would be fun to post old pictures or tell old stories as a flashback to a different time. Some have called it Way Back Whensdays but I have Wednesdays taken, so Fridays it is.

However, since this will require me to plug in and "warm up" my scanner, I will start this week with a story of days gone by.

August, 1994

It was a hot, sticky summer. Mosquitos filled the humid air, just waiting to perch and feast upon their prey. The days stretched out ahead of me, one right after another...

Ha! Just kidding. Seriously though - August of 1994 was (obviously for those of you who were there) the summer after I graduated from high school. I was about to venture out on my own for the first time. My bags were packed and I had plans to move into my first apartment just in time to settle in before the Fall semester started at GCC. It was bittersweet. An odd cross between elation at my impending freedom and sheer terror at my approaching independence.

My sister, Sarah, was 13 at the time. We had shared a room together since the day she was born so it was going to be strange for her to have her own taste of freedom, too, I'm sure. No one to yell at her for being sloppy, no toe tapping or music playing to keep her up at night, and no one hogging 3/4 of the closet.

As I was getting ready for the big move out on my own, she brought me her beloved black bear, (creatively) named Blackie, and told me she wanted me to bring him with me when I left. She was afraid I'd be lonely and thought he could keep me company. How sweet is that?!? But wait. I knew how important Blackie was to her so I refused to accept him until she insisted that she'd be ok without him and that I needed him more than she did. This "simple", unselfish, and immensely sacrificial gesture was huge to me! I mean, Blackie was Sarah's lovey, her comfort item, her best friend! He had worn spots where she loved on him for years, matted fur where she had held him tight to ease her fears and calm her nerves. How could she bear (ha!) to part with him?!? I'm sure she must have sensed my trepidation and in that moment, rather than give in to her sadness and fear about my leaving, she stood up to give me strength. And through this unlikely, stuffed, 2-foot-tall, fuzzy messenger of love and support, she showed a selflessness and maturity well beyond her thirteen years.

What Sarah probably doesn't realize is that I spent many rough nights holding Blackie tight as he eased MY fears and calmed MY nerves. I pulled him close when my tiny little apartment seemed big and scary and I missed the familiar sounds of home and my family. I sat him nearby as stress got high because assignments were due or big tests were looming. I talked to him when no one else was around to hear how my day had been. Blackie was a Godsend in those first few months and years of college. He was like a little, black, furry guardian angel sent to watch over me!

Even 15 years later, Sarah's timely gift has continued to stick with me. I think because it demonstrates a prime example of unconditional love. It shows a degree of support and care and a level of understanding that you don't find very often. My sister was willing to give up the one thing that meant the world to her to give me comfort, strength and companionship in my huge new leap into the big, scary world. She recognized that and made the ultimate sacrifice (to a 13-year-old!) to show her love and support. For that I will always be grateful. And for always I will do my best to repay the favor in your time of need. I love you, "big" lil' sis!!


Pam said...

OK...I swear, after the beginning of August, I might try to stop crying at every single one of your tender, sweet posts. Really...I am a mess. Perhaps partly because I know you and Sarah well...I shared in some of that life...and I feel like I know exactly the feelings you're talking about. I also remember being 13...and how hard it is for any 13 year old to be selfless. So, the fact that Sarah was an adolescent when this all happened makes it even more poignant. And it makes me think of that little girl Sarah with the funny way of talking, who always was asking to swim in our pool...the one who put too much ranch on our salads, but just so wanted to make something for us...that little girl who wanted to be where we were and do what we did and think like we thought. She loves you so much,'s a love I envy a little, not having had a bio sister myself. You are so blessed to have her...and b/c you're my own surrogate sister, I know firsthand that she's also amazingly blessed to have you!! IWN...

Sarah said...

You had to go and make me sob hysterically, so that my husband came in the house, saw me and ran over asking what was wrong!

I thank you, not only for writing something beautiful like always, but for making that beautiful piece about ME! It means so much to have my "big" sister (the one and only that I have idolized my entire life) speak about me like that.

Blackie was and IS special to me. Do you remember where I got him? Abuelita. At the time, he was the only way to show you how much I loved you. (That, and I didn't think you'd appreciate "Baby Talk", LOL!!) I had a hard time that summer,I was scared for you and me. What was I gonna do without my sister? And more importantly...What were you gonna do without ME?!

You were/are the coolest sister ever, and I thought I was cool because of it. I love you "big" sis!!! You mean the world to me!

Karen Rita said...

Love your blog, Shana. Thanks for writing.