In January, my brother and I sent a baby gift to our then unborn niece. Our unborn niece that we may never have the pleasure of meeting, let alone knowing. My estranged half sister, Deven, who disappeared from our lives more than 15 years ago, just had a baby.
Many of my friends don’t even know that I have an older sister. To them, I’ve always been the oldest in my household. But I still think about her. I still love her. The love of a sibling doesn’t just go away, even if she made us cry, even if she abandoned us.
I occasionally attempt to keep tabs on her life, and through the sheer force of the interwebs, I found out that she was having a baby. So I sent an olive branch. Though I didn’t expect for it to induce a response, I would have been thrilled to welcome my big sister back into my life.
For the first thirteen years of my life, she was a power player. My inspiration. My pal. She spent almost every weekend with us, and my room was her room. (Of course, I’d have to clear a pathway free of toys from the door to the bunk bed ladder so she could walk through). We went camping, went on vacation, and visited her at college; we did all the things younger siblings are supposed to do with their favorite big sis. We loved her.
I’ll never forget the time she called home from Purdue, and I was talking to her about coming to visit. She promised to take me to parties and sneak me some beer. I replied, completely seriously, by telling her that “I prefer cocktails.” Of course I was 8 and referring to Chrissy Cocktails (AKA Kiddie Cocktails with pineapple juice, squirt, and grenadine).
She used to always get me the best Barbie stuff. I still have the blue and pink ’57 Chevy that she bought me for Christmas one year. She and her visiting friends would play Barbie with me, while we watched Guns N Roses on MTV. She introduced Brian and I to the classic 80’s and 90’s movies, like Labyrinth, Goonies, The Princess Bride, and of course–Night of the Comet (AKA The Zombie Movie that we ALWAYS wanted to watch).
I have so many more memories of my sister. I often wish that she was still a part of our lives. I feel the saddest for my niece, who may never know the joy of having an Auntie Chrissy. (And Auntie Chrissy is pretty much the best Auntie in the world…not that I’m biased or anything).
So my brother and I sent her several gifts of love. A rubber ducky, some books (as all children receive books from Auntie Chrissy), and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. The Johnson’s was to remind our sister of us, as naked babies in a bath tub singing:“No more tears! No more tears! We’re going to stick with Johnson’s for years!”
I guess I’ll never know what happened to make her leave us. But I cherish the childhood memories that I have.