Friday, February 15, 2013

The Lost Years

Have you seen those YouTube videos that create a video for the 16 year old you? I think that they are pretty great! I have been thinking a lot lately about the lost years. I feel that because I am the oldest child and left home before I was 18 years old that I "lost" several years of my sisters' childhoods. When I was in HS my sister Ashley and I were each other's rivals. At the core we loved each other. You could read it between the lines of the journal entries that we both read of each others, but we fought tooth and nail against each other. I remember doing nice things for Ashley, but I also remember her making me the most angry in my teenage years. To be honest I don't remember much about Ashley after I left for college until she started beauty college nearly 2 years later. I never had her up to my dorm to visit or met her for lunch in Corvallis just to chat. We were both going a million miles an hour in opposite directions. 18 year old self: Don't be so self-absorbed! Remember that you will have these sisters in your life for as long as God gives you and you will someday wish that you had built stronger bonds with them.

I still remember the day that I found out that I was having another sister. Ashley and I were at the fair with our mom and Papa Kyle and we were waiting until the deadline when they could use a payphone to call in and find out the gender of our baby. We all jumped for joy to discover that there would be three girls in our family. I was such a proud big sister and paraded this chubby little baby around everywhere my mom would allow. I even talked mom into bringing her to my 3rd grade class for show in tell. This little blond baby also thought I hung the moon. When did that end? Perhaps it is when I gave her one too many lectures when she was 15. Perhaps it is all the times that she needed me and I wasn't there for her. Yes, we are very close now, but I regret not being there for her when she REALLY needed me.

I am nearly 13 years older than my youngest sister. I was there when she was born; although had to wait in the waiting room because mom had some complications. It was a stormy day in December when little Austin made her appearance. Once again I was enamored with this little bundle of joy. Whenever we were out and about I would beg mom to let me hold her. I sang to her many songs to make her go to sleep and prided myself in being the best sister I could be. She was quite spoiled by my friends and I and had several outings with me while I was in college including a "date" with Kyle (her future husband). I have always loved this little girl, but something switched in her teen years and instead of being her big sister who she admired I became the enemy. Did it hurt? Yes. I wanted one of those relationships with my baby sister where she would call me about anything. Do I have that now? Kind of...she now will call me for mommy advice. She trusts me to keep her son and I believe that she does look up to me, but I sure miss those days when she was this little 5 year old that begged our mom to bring her to WOU so that she could hang with me and my friends.

What would I tell my teenage self? Make sure that you take extra time to devote to your family relationships. It is important to build bonds that last forever. You may take for granted that your sisters will always be there and you will have time to make up with them, but 10 years for now you are going to hear news that will rock your world and you will be grasping at that personal connection you had as a child. Don't take your family for granted. Love you sisters with a love that Christ has called you to share. Don't create years that you have lost. My sisters mean so much to me and I pray daily that in our adult years we all rekindle the connections from our childhood.