My big sister was my best friend from the day I was born. Legend has it that when she came to visit me in the hospital and the nurse wheeled me back to the nursery, 2-year-old Heather yelled after the woman, “Hey LADY! You take good care of my baby!” For the first months of my life, she nearly smothered me with love and then she started taking care of me herself.
She played games with me. She helped me learn to imagine.
She was Leia. I was Luke. (I was younger and had shorter hair)
She was the Princess. I was the Prince. (shorter hair excuse again)
She was Sandy. I was Danny. (yep. Shorter hair.)
She was Mary. I was Laura. (This one I liked. Mary was always the boring goody-goody who cried all the time and threatened to go tell Pa. Laura was the risk taker, the one who could kick Nelly’s trash. Laura married a guy named Manly. On the other hand, every bad thing that could possibly happen to a person happened to Mary. She even went so far as to go blind and, as if that weren’t enough, the blind school burned to the ground.)
Okay. End of tangent.
She swung higher than me. I looked to her to teach me.
I was the “brave one” but she was the one who let me sleep with her until I was 12 because I was so scared of the dark.
She was the voice of reason and I was the mischief. She was ladylike and I liked to jump out of trees to see if I could break my arm and get a cast.
She read great books and told me the stories at night because I was too lazy to read them myself. Besides, I still believe she told them better than the original writers. Eat that L.M.!
We went on a game show together, lost (darn you blue team!) and still remained friends.
She did my hair like THIS for the first day of Junior High.
We were, and still are, silly together.
Although we went through periods where we divided our shared bedroom with tape and even occasionally with a cardboard wall, when we got to college we chose to room together. We graduated at the same time because she had taken 2 years off to serve as a missionary.
She spent the summer with me in Quebec and told me I had a great French accent. She translated for me when I needed help. One thing I know – If someone shouts “Vive Quebec!” on St. Jean Baptiste Day, you’d better shout it back!
She dressed like a tween with me and went to see the Backstreet Boys in concert because, “They’re so lame that they’ll break up any minute now. THIS MAY BE OUR LAST CHANCE TO SEE THEM IN CONCERT!” She was a High School teacher at the time and me a Librarian.
When I found a new best friend and moved out of our apartment, she celebrated with me, although I know it was hard.
She cried when she held my baby for the first time, so amazed that her baby sister had made a person and so instantly filled with love for Laylee.
When Magoo was born and my world fell apart, she got on a plane.
We’re learning how to be mothers together. I guess we’ve been learning for a long time. I do hope we’re nicer to our kids than we were to my brother. 🙂
When I describe Heather to people, I always say, “She’s a lot like me, only nicer.” And it’s true. She is the truest friend, the most loyal and compassionate person. She is talented in so many ways. She works hard and she is hard on herself. She is vulnerable. But her very vulnerability and her willingness to share her insecurities makes her more likeable.
And no, she’s not dead. This is not a eulogy. I just like her. (Besides, her eulogy would talk more about how wonderful she is and less about Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Backstreet Boys.)