The day my parents brought my little sister home, I crept into her room to watch her sleep. She came home from the hospital dressed in a white onesie with little yellow duckies on it with matching booties on her teeny feet. I leaned my chin against the rail of the crib and watched her sleep for a long time, inhaling the scent of powder that hung on the air. I remember feeling she was fragile, and there was some risk she wasn't a permanent fixture in our lives.
She was a scrawny baby with barely any blonde hair atop her head and huge blue eyes. Her first two years were marked with diagnoses I didn't understand at age 12. She spat up every meal and wasn't gaining enough weight.
My most concrete memories of her were when she was 2 or 3 and used to like to dress up in pink and purple, a little blur of sandy ringlets. She was so girly, like a little doll. The sister I'd always wanted.
She was 6 years old when I told her it wouldn't be long before I went away to college. She cried angry tears at me. "You..." She searched for the worst word she could think of, "...bug," she erupted.
I went away to college. I got married. I moved to the Midwest and settled in New York. She was 14 when she came down to spend time with Alec and I in our little apartment, singing Brittney Spears songs. We laughed and laughed. My brothers are really funny people. My sister is genuinely the funniest person I know.
We spent a few days together when Lauren was about 5 weeks old when I basically ran away from my life for a week, overwhelmed by motherhood, seeking refuge with my mom and my grandmother. It was a few months after she had a terrible car accident and had wrapped her car around a telephone pole. She seemed different, but we watched her run and she smiled and carried baby Lauren around to meet her friends.
It is a lifetime ago.
I just wish she could find peace in her life. I want her to live her dreams, whatever they are. Because the idea of a world without her is far too dark for me to even imagine.