If I had to name the top three people in my life who know me the most and who have been the most loyal, it would be the Mrs., my mother, and my big sister, Brenda.
Born a few years before me, Brenda was, and forever will be, my older sister. Having been the center of attention for the first few years, I know from the battle scars, that having a younger brother come along wasn’t what she considered ideal at the time.
From as early as I can remember, it was a contest between us for who had dibs at mom’s cookies, who’s space was, or wasn’t, invaded in the backseat of the car, who had the most candy at Easter and Christmas, and who could provoke the other the most.
Early on, it was more about me defending myself from my big sister being rough on me. As I grew up and became taller, and the teenage years hit, it was more about staying out of each other’s way. This was particularly true when it came to who got to use the only bathroom first. Which, I can say without a doubt, I lost that battle every time.
It’s a silly thing, but both my sister and I had the ability to raise one eyebrow higher than the other. For me, it was all about making faces for attention (not always the good kind of attention either). For Brenda, it allowed her to give me what we not so affectionately called, ‘The Evil Eye’. Yes, whenever I was getting too out of control, all she would have to do is give me that ‘look’. and I knew better than to keep on doing what was annoying her.
As we grew older, and Brenda grew out her fingernails, she was able to combine ‘The Evil Eye’ with ‘The Claw’. Now, that was a deadly combination and I learned to run when she used both of them on me or I’d be nursing scratch marks for days.
As much as we fought at times, we shared every Christmas, Easter basket hunt, summer vacation, Halloween, neighbor friends, and memories (both good and bad). In fact, it was those tough times when we both knew that at least we had each other.
One memory of Halloween stands out in both of our minds to this day. I was probably seven and she was nine. We had exclusive rights on the dead-end road where we lived, and all the neighbors looked out for us when it came to trick-or-treating.
We had finished knocking on all the doors and were heading back home. It was getting dark outside and, as we were walking, an older boy from down the road came up from behind us, grabbed Brenda’s full bag of candy, and ran off with it.
I wouldn’t have that!... So, I gave her my bag and ran after him. Being twice my age and size, it was a futile effort. After exhausting all my energy running after him in my Halloween outfit, I walked my sister home and split my candy with her, so she would have some at least.
I don’t know why that memory is prominent in both our minds still. Probably because I remember the overwhelming instinct to protect her, and she thought I was crazy for going after that big kid…
Tomorrow, I’ll be flying out to visit with Brenda and her family for the weekend. I’m hoping to spend some quality time with her as she’s battling an illness that will make it difficult in the future if we don’t see a miracle.
Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing some memories of Brenda from the past and, hopefully, from this weekend. I’d ask you to please pray for her healing of an unspoken illness. I can say that, even though we don’t see each other often, I know that whenever I pick up that phone, there’s nearly no one I feel as close to as I do with her.
Thank you for your prayers my friends and I’m looking forward to sharing more with you all this weekend…