“My friends call me Jax. You may do the same.”
To this day, I love the rare mornings when I wake up right before the dawn to the most perfect blue light pouring in the windows of my apartment. I have no where to be; there are no deadlines pressing down upon me, not a care in the world.
I awoke to just such a morning a little more than 22 years ago on the day my baby sister arrived. That afternoon, little me in a summer smock jumped and screamed with delight with the news:“It’s a girl, it’s a girl, it’s a girl!”
I think about that day a lot. Especially as of late, as I have watched that tiny baby girl grow into a little lady.
There is an astonishing amount of love, coupled with an astonishing amount of envy that goes into sisterhood. My sister is astounding, in both the positive and the negative sense of the word. She can be both endearing and maddening in the same breath. She knows how to push all my buttons and possesses the ability send me into the kind of rage only a sister can produce. And still…she is amazing.
Little Jaclyn is everything that I am not. We love entirely different kinds of shoes: she cannot manage to walk in my heels, and I cannot fathom the flats she loves to wear. I came into the world brunette, blue and mad (the product of an emergency C-section) while Jaclyn greeted us all with blonde, rosy cheer. That never changed. She never meets a stranger. She loves people. And people love her.
I think the quality I love the most about my sister is her beautiful heart. I’ve never met someone so kind or giving of their time. This is the child who gave up her summers to help a little boy with muscular dystrophy, who dealt with feeding tubes and other medical devices during another summer vacation so children with severe disabilities could play like other children, and who would prefer to spend her time caring for a 90-year-old woman back home more than she would care to party with her friends or schoolmates. And, as an added bonus, she is breathtakingly beautiful.
That’s the trouble with being the elder sibling. You get to watch those who come behind you experience the moments you’ve already lived. You get to watch with nostalgia and an understanding of what you would have done differently.
A few nights ago, little Jax called from the beach to tell me she’s in love and moving to Florida and getting married. (Now, mind you, this is the fourth time this year she and I have had this conversation.) But, in truth, this is what I want for her: I hope that her life may be full of laughter where mine was marked by tears. I hope that heartbreak will never find her (and even though it has, that her memory of the experience will be short lived.) I hope that all of her dreams do come true. I hope that she won’t regret…and that when she does, she will find the strength to move on boldly, with confidence.
I do not know if my sister has ever woken to the same kind of blue, hazy morning that occurred the day she arrived in our world. Some experiences and some memories are our own to take and to keep. But, if she takes anything with her from this life—I hope this it will be among them: The people who love her the most are near. And as long as we are, any kind potential of harm is a thousand miles away.