My sister is in a long distance relationship, which on its own will cause anyone to be lonely. She also works two jobs, that are very emotionally demanding and require her to make real life or death decisions about REAL PEOPLE. These are people she’s been working with for sometimes months or years. She’s met there families, and tried to help them get the care they need. She works hard in every facet of her life, including the relationships she has with her family.
Our parents aren’t always healthy to be around. They can be selfish, and hurtful, and people ask us a lot why we have relationships with them at all. A few years ago when Kristy was trying to get me to return one of the many phone calls I’d ignored from our mother, she explained her reasons in a way I’ll never forget.
“It’s not about if they deserve a good daughter or not,” she explained. “I want to be a good person, I want to be a good daughter.”
Kristy gives and gives, and never takes. She took on a huge part of raising Kaitlyn and I, and has never expected anything in return. When my parents were distracted by everything else in life, it was Kristy who drove home from college to make dinner for us. Kristy is the one who planned our birthday parties. Kristy is the one who would demand to see my report cards at the end of a semester, and she is the only one who always pushed me to do better.
She was always pushing, do better Julie, you can do better. Like a teenager fighting against her mother, I’d get angry with her. I felt like I wasn’t good enough, or she had impossible standards. But she knew, she knew to push me. To encourage me, to BE THERE FOR ME. She never stopped even when I was mean and ungrateful.
Last night she called me upset about several parts of her current life. I thought back to her message from years ago. I pretended I was still at home sitting on the couch, but really I got in my car and started to drive to her. The closer I got to her house, the more I felt her through the phone. She told me about how expensive it will be to fix her car, and how hard things have been at work and the distance in her relationship. I drove as fast as I could to get to her. I wanted to be here for her like she’s always been there for me.
It’s not that I haven’t been a good sister all along, but in that moment I knew I could try to make her feel a little less alone in her very independent life.
When I finally told her I was in the driveway, I heard her fighting back tears as she pulled her curtains to find my car at her house.
“Why are you here? You drove here?”
She may never accept that what she did for me and my sister growing up was one of the most gracious and selfless acts a person can do. Sitting in her driveway I smiled back at her tears.
How could she not know that the very reason I was sitting in her driveway last night was because all these years she’s been raising me to be this kind of sister. I want to be a good sister. I’m simply following your lead.
So we put her cat in one of my ring slings!!! Hahahaha and got a pizza 🙂