Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tenderly Sisters

Growing up, Angela and Virginia, were awful towards me. They were mean and picked on me. I was the baby so it was their job I suppose. I share this hoping that if you were the baby, you can sympathize with me, and if you were an older sibling...well you probably laughed and nodded. Older siblings are evil. Intrinsic truth. Just kidding, but not really.

But for as mean as they were, I always knew someone had my back. No matter what happened I had two allies in my corner at all times. And people knew that they were mean, so I never had to use them as the guard dogs they were. They might have been mean to me...but no one else would ever get away with it. And because there were three girls, our Dad raised us to be tough and opinionated. It bites him in the ass to this day.

 Angela and I were close coming up because we were closer in age, so we had more in common. We played with similar toys. Enjoyed outdoor adventures. As we aged and began to figure out who we were, we didn't spend as much time together. I was a social bug and Angela would rather stay at home and chill. That being said, our midnight banter in her room while snacking or painting toenails are some of my most treasured memories.

Virginia is five years older than I am, so I was always the frumpy little sister she was forced to drag along. I admired her though. I might have annoyed the life out of her at times, but to me...she was the coolest. Even during her Goth phase, and that was pretty awful. She excelled in school, she didn't take crap from people, she spoke her opinion assuredly, and knew what she wanted in life. What little girl wouldn't look up to that?

We are all three very different people, with very different personalities. It is amazing to me that for 12 years we shared a room, and lived to tell about it. As different as we all are, we have always had a strong bond as sisters. I attribute that to the fact that  we were all we had growing up. Most of our family lives in Kentucky. We didn't have cousins to run and play with, and we didn't have neighbor kids to play with since we lived on a farm, so we were all there was. We share a bond that many siblings don't because not only were we forced to be sisters...but we were forced to be friends. If we only knew then that what we have is something to be treasured.

As we grew up, and life began to change we all drifted into our own lives. Virginia became a mother and got married, Angela moved to Kentucky to start a new life, and I settled into my own relationship and started a family. Each always in contact with the others, but always apart it seemed. When Angela decided to move back from Kentucky we were all happy to have our little family back together. At this point I already had Scarlett, and Dustin and I were working on Evan.

Angela missed my pregnancy and delivery with Scarlett because she lived up north. She was there for Evan every step of the way. She watched Evan for us when I went back to work, and they hit it off. They ran tit for tat in their terror, and still do. I was petty enough at one point that when Angela got pregnant with John, I worried she would treat Evan differently. But she didn't. And I regret feeling that way towards John, especially after I met him, and even more so now that he is gone.

We all worried over Angela and her pregnancy, but she did amazing. We really worried about delivery since she has zero pain tolerance, but yet again, she did amazing. There is something magical that happened during John's delivery. During my deliveries and Virginia's, we were not all present. Angela missed Scarlett's, Mom and Virginia waited outside Evan's so other people could be there, and Virginia had a c-section. John's birth was the first time that all of the Smith women were in the room for delivery.

It was amazing. It was my first live birth, and for as gross as it was, I was mesmerized watching John come into this world. I cried. I cried not only because this beautiful little creature came into our lives, but at the beauty of the moment. All of us standing there watching that moment when a woman experiences the greatest pain and greatest love she will ever feel in all the world. And John was her greatest love.

John brought our family back into focus. Virginia and I were so in love with this little fat nugget of adorableness! We gave each other nieces and nephews, and we love them just as much, but there was something about John. Something about his sweet little soul. And he was the baby. Like me. We knew he would get hell from the older kids, but we would love and protect him no matter what. He was everyone's baby. I think that's what the spark was with this child.

And that's why it has been so difficult to lose him. The spark in our family went out. Extinguished by someone's careless actions. Our baby is gone. The baby is gone.

Going through something like this can make or break a family. Even though the spark is out, John left a burning fire. As sisters, there is no doubt that this has brought us closer. We have shared and lived through the hardest thing we've ever done, watching one of us bury her baby. That really does change you. Even with our broken hearts, Virginia and I have stood in front of Angela, shielding as much as we can. It was my turn as the little sister, to stand up and unburden my older sister. Taking care of as much as we can. Helping her through what we can. We can't fix this, but we would if we could. We can't end her pain, but we can share it with her. We are one big broken heart, that at times can be found sitting in the floor of Angela's closet crying and laughing. How else do we survive if we don't lean on each other?

We are sisters. Their hurt is my hurt. And this time...there is nothing I can do. That kind of hurt...there are just no words. So I just love them tenderly. And love them strong. We are forever and always tenderly sisters.




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