a sister named juli

 8 years ago.  juli just got back from africa.  and my hair is unnaturally blond.  ha!

8 years ago.  juli just got back from africa.  and my hair is unnaturally blond.  ha!

 at the grand mosque.  feb 2014

at the grand mosque.  feb 2014

i haven't been blogging this whole time my sister has been out.  we have been busy and it has been so, so good.  not exactly out-of-this-world kind of things and doings.  but when you have someone who cares so much to travel so far (even on their way to an even further destination), and that person who comes to you knows you so well since you share roots; i can't help but feel so loved and treasured.  

it was a very difficult beginning of the year.  a birthday came and went.  i'm 32.  and although i love whipping up fantastic birthday parties for my kiddos, i'm usually not a fan of my birthday or the idea of change .  there's something on a very deep emotional level that makes me go a bit nuts around the end of january each year.  and so this year, it was hard.  very hard.  i think a good, solid cry helped get it all out:  all of the pent-up crazy and frustration and fear and isolation.  ben was good to me.  he loved on me in my emotional mess.  and my pittsburgh counselor counseled me via email.  and this woman, who i secretly call my mom because i just really want her to be my (additional) mom, tells me like it is and i trust her:  love yourself.  i'm trying.  

in all of this, it seemed as though my sister wasn't going to get the paperwork completed in time for her to visit--the visit i was very much looking forward to for a few months.  hoping, but not getting my hopes up at the same time.  i love my sister.  i really do.  but we are different people--kind of night and day and she annoys me sometimes.  but that doesn't matter.  i wanted her to be with me.  i wanted a person from my family to come sit in my home and see the city that i live in.  i wanted someone that my girls call family to play dolls with them and see the art work they make and have picnics with them in the park.  because my girls are growing up so fast and so far away from their families.  i wanted my blood, my history, my shared roots to be near me again.  in this time where i often still find myself on the outside and need help loving me.

she sang us songs while my lovlies danced around, tripping on the furniture and laughing in the middle of her heart-felt song lyrics.  she soaked in sun and warmth, often bare footed around the compound.  she smiled and laughed a lot.  and i feel like i never got to really talk--dive deep--with her.  sometimes that happens with family though:  when we are together, it can be draining, or it can be like medicine.  it was like medicine, even if the right words were absent in conversation. 

now ben is driving her to the airport where soon she will be on her way to south korea, teaching english for a year.  i couldn't be happier for her, but i know that she has left all things familiar behind to pursue this adventure.  and honestly, she is the one who gave me the courage to even think about living abroad.  and while she sets up a little life for herself over there, i will be thinking and praying for her since i know what that is all like now.  but she is brave.  and she is capable.

i consider my children growing up and someday moving far away from each other (ugh, i can't even begin that thought seriously or i will freak out).  and that's a possibility.  although i pray so much that they will be friends and that they will be close by.  but if they do live far apart, i hope so much (my heart fills with sincere prayer) they will visit each other and love on each other in the only way a sister can.  i don't care if that means they talk about their mama and laugh about the crazy parts of their childhood.  but i want them to cry together, speak truth to each other, drink wine together, play games with their nieces/nephews, and stay up late and talk about life.  and when they have to say good-bye, i hope they yearn for the next time they can embrace one another again.

my sister is on the same side of the world as me now, or at least it feels that way.  my mother's two, and only daughters, are so far away from her.  but i know it meant a lot to mom when she could video call us today and see us both in the same room together.  her daughters were together.  

now my house is a bit quieter and there will be one less set of hands tomorrow to hold onto my children's hands or help one of them up after they've fallen.  there will be one less voice reading them bedtime stories.  there will be fewer used coffee mugs laying around the house.

i look forward to the time when we can see her again and when my girls can run up and give her the biggest auntie hugs.  and so i will start to play our christmas-time reunion (ha)!

my sister, i love you.  thank you.