August Journaling Day 19: Sister

Writing this morning from beautiful Clearwater, Florida as I had to come here for some personal business. Good to be back in FL if only for a couple days. So today’s topic is my sister. I just talked to her the other day on the phone for the first time in a while, so the timing for this seems appropriate. I’m a couple of years older than my sister but I certainly don’t remember a time with out her around. I wouldn’t say we were close as kids as much as she was just always around. We fought, a lot, but in the way young siblings fight. Over stupid stuff. Growing up she was my test subject for trying every WWF wrestling move on. She became extremely adept at escaping both the figure four leg lock as well as the sharpshooter. On my left arm I still have a scratch from a tussle we had when I was maybe 11 or so? Her fingernails were a powerful weapon!

My sister and I have primarily lived in different cities for most of the last fifteen years or so. Most years we usually see each other for a couple weeks when we’re both in the Seattle area or on the occasional chance I pass through the southwest where she lives. But we generally text on occasion and talk on the phone on lesser occasion. I’ve always thought her and I were very different personalities with different interests and hobbies. But as we get older and talk more about serious topics or just our experiences within our lives, I think we’re a little more alike than I used to think. I mean, we obviously both had the same in-home experience as children. We’re both extremely close to our mom. Both played sports. Both dealt with dad’s illness and death. Both went to law school, although she decided to actually finish it.

One thing I’ve always appreciated about my sister is when we do have to talk about a serious topic or navigate through something, we work together pretty well. I think sometimes I’m very guilty of using my status as the older sibling to be a jerk or talk down in some way to her. In my head it’s not malicious and it’s me joking around, but I can see how it would be annoying on her end, especially as we’re both around 40 years old now. So that’s something I want to work on with my sister, just kind of doing away with the weird attitude i’ve often had being the oldest towards her.

I hope we talk more in the future. We’ve had such separate lives as adults and when we’ve had real conversations in recent years, they’ve really been wonderful. I feel like I’m getting to know the real her more instead of just what I see through pictures or social media. I’m in the process of doing something right now and she’s been a wonderful guide through that process as she’s been through this particular journey. Not only is it great to get her advice, but it’s also just nice to be able to connect with her more.

My sister has put together a life that she wants and I admire the hell out of her for it. She decided what she wanted to do, she’s pursued it, created it, worked hard for it, and she’s succeeding at it. She helps people and it’s just a wonderful thing. What’s funny is of course I mention my older brother attitude earlier, and really she’s easily the more mature Beem child. Kind of always has been. On the rare occasions I post about her on social media, I often say “I’m a proud big brother.” And I am. My sister is a good person and she’s motivated by good things to do good things.

Family dynamics certainly change as we age and I think moving to different parts of the country has only accelerated that change. I think we grow apart some of course, but in my experience, generally once we’re together again, things fall back in line pretty quickly. I want to say a few more things about my sister. I want to keep a lot of this vague just because I want to respect her privacy. One of my favorite things about my sister is our shared sense of humor, particularly about pop culture from when we grew up. We sat together and watched Full House and Mrs. Doubtfire and a slew of other movies and shows together and to this day we can still quote and laugh at them together. I love that. We both still have lines from the 90s that we’ll use in our day to day lives and it’s so funny because we might be the only other people who get the joke. Last thing I’ll say about her and our relationship. I have zero doubts ever that my sister has my back and wants what’s best for me. She’s never put me down or questioned me or my life, especially during the anxiety years. Thinking back about it now, she’s been nothing but supportive and wants her big brother to be happy. I’ve never felt jealousy or real resentment from her. Annoyance, sure, she’s definitely been annoyed with me. But that’s temporary. I love my sister and I am a proud big brother, for good reason.

Probably 1984 or 85? We were cute!