The goodbye that I never thought would come

From the age of two to the age of six, I shared a room with my sister. We lived at my grandparents’ house for the first three years, and she had the top bunk. Most of our nights were spent in my mom’s room with the pink walls. My grandma and grandpa would tell us stories every night as we cuddled and prepared for sleep. The final year we shared a room was when we moved in with my now step dad and his family. Shortly afterwards we moved, yet again, into a larger house where we each got our own room. Now, ten years later, I am sharing a room with my sister again. We moved two years ago, at the end of my freshman year and her sophomore year, which resulted in me living in her closet. However, this is going to be our last year sharing a room. Our last year living together, ever, and I am not sure that I am ready to say goodbye.

I feel bad for people without siblings. Siblings are reliable, and they know you almost as well as you know yourself because they know everything you’ve been through. But what are you meant to do when that reliability is gone? I had not really begun to consider this idea or try to process it until a few weeks ago when we went to tour a college campus. We had flown up to Oregon, my mom, my stepdad, my sister and I, and I was in awe of how beautiful it was. I imagined my sister walking around the campus, going to class or studying with friends, and then I realized that this new chapter of her life was going to begin and end without me. I know she’ll be just a phone call away, yet that is still too far. I will no longer be able to simply walk downstairs and meet her in the kitchen, or go sit in her room just to talk. She will no longer be one wall away.

If I were to try and imagine my life without my sister, quiet would be a word for it. I would probably be living in her room, not her closet, and I would not have to worry about someone randomly barging in. Quiet also means boring. I would be lacking my favorite person and one of the funniest people I have ever known. Genuinely. She has the most bizarre sense of humor and never fails to put a smile on my face. Who would not miss that? I envy the people who are going to be able to spend everyday with her.

My sister and I rarely see each other in the mornings anymore, but for years we spent every one together. When we lived with my grandparents, we would spend our mornings together on the couch, sitting with my head on her shoulder, tired from sleep. We would watch a movie, probably “Mamma Mia”, or a T.V. show, like “Backyardigans”. Then we would eat. Mini pancakes and orange juice every morning. Now, if I am lucky, I get a quick good morning as I pass her while she heads to the bathroom and I head to my zero period. On most occasions, we do not eat breakfast together. On special occasions, such as our birthdays and holidays, we get to share our pancakes and orange juice again. This year, however, marks the last of our birthday breakfasts. For the next four, or however many years, she will be gone for the birthdays, gone for most of the holidays. Again, a hard idea to grapple with–the breaking of tradition.

I do not like change. I cried when my grandma cut the tree in her front yard down because it had been there my whole life. The idea of no longer regularly seeing someone that was there almost everyday of my life for 17 years is a bigger adjustment than I am used to. This year, we have gone through and are going to continue to go through a long list of our lasts. Starting with our last dance together. Our last Christmas under the same roof. Both of our last birthdays while living together. All of the little things, too. Each drive to the beach together is a countdown to the day where I have to drive to the beach alone.

I say all of this in sadness, yet I can’t help but feel happy. I am excited for my sister to go out into the world, to have the college experience. I am excited to hear all of her stories and adventures. I am excited to see who she becomes and where she goes. Most of all, I am excited for her to come home. For her to be able to tell me about anything and everything. I know that it is early to start the countdown to her return, considering she has not even left yet, but I do not care. My sister has shaped me in such a way that without her, I can confidently say that I would not be the person I am today without having her with me throughout my life. I can not say that I am going to miss our fights or her mood swings, but I can say that I am going to miss her. I do not think I can physically or verbally express how much I am going to miss her, but know that it is too much to be healthy. I would gladly take all the fights and mood swings if that meant she could stay for a little longer.

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