Two score and nine years ago, my mom and dad brought forth on this planet, a new baby, conceived in January or February, and dedicated to the proposition that any child born into a Catholic family must, within a reasonable timeframe, have a sibling. Thus, the minute I arrived home from the hospital, I already had what my older sister had waited three years for: a friend. I don’t recall much about our first meeting, but I’ll bet she peeked through the bars of my crib making silly faces, singing songs, or showing me her toy telephone and urging me to hurry up and start babbling so we could get our money’s worth from AT&T. She called me a few days ago, and it was one of those rare occasions when the planets aligned and we both had time to talk. A two-hour phone conversation might sound frivolous or decadent, but when we connect after a long hiatus, that’s how we roll. We catch up on the day-to-day, spill our news, share our triumphs and tragedies, laugh like crazy, take
a pee break, and laugh some more. I’m dumbstruck by how much alike we turned out, having had only haphazard contact for the past thirty years. My solution to a front-loading washer that leaks a bit? Shove a towel under it. Her solution to a broken dryer button? Turn it on and off with a pencil eraser. Two peas in a pod, I’m telling you. This seems like a point for nature in the ongoing nature-nurture debate, but don’t forget, we grew up together and shared a bedroom for fifteen years. Mom would tuck us in and tell us to be quiet and thirty seconds later, we’d be chattering about something of vital importance: what fourth grade was like, whether Santa Claus was real, what kind of dog we’d get if mom would ever let us have one. Today, it seems like every kid has their own room. I’m glad I didn’t because if I had, I’d have missed out on one of life’s greatest treasures. This poem is dedicated to the world’s best big sister and my very first friend:
After nighttime prayers were said,
Mom would send us off to bed.
Close your eyes and go to sleep;
no conversation, not a peep!
We’d cover up, lie really still,
and summon every ounce of will
But quickly our resolve would crumble,
cautious whispers turned to mumbles
Jokes and secrets of all sorts,
muffled giggles, squeals, and snorts
The raucous chatter siblings share
drowned out Mom’s footsteps on the stair
but her command to QUIET DOWN!
cut through the din and shook the ground
Instantly, dead silence reigned,
save for the snores my sister feigned
Once satisfied she’d changed her course,
we’d carry on without remorse
On nights we earned a second warning,
talk was tabled until morning
Then, touching hands between our beds,
wordless wishes traded heads
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