My sister got married today.
I could write all about the funny and memorable little experiences that Jackie and I have shared over our lives. Like going jogging a few times a week at 11 pm when I was in middle school. Or like waiting forever at Buffalo Wild Wings for our check, only to have a manager creepily slide up to our table and say, "You're waiting for your check, aren't you? Well, no one knows where it is.....but I know where it is" and then running off and pulling it out of some random drawer. Or the numerous tennis matches. Or getting stranded in Shamrock TX because our car broke down in the middle of nowhere. Or watching The Cosby Show late every night for an entire summer. Or driving to school every morning pumping T-Bone in her car. Or staying at the shady Yucca Motel in the middle of New Mexico, where we did have HBO on our six-inch TV screen. Or going to a Relient K concert and trying to avoid being trampled by moshing high schoolers. Or watching "That Thing You Do" or "The Return of the King" or "August Rush" or "It's a Wonderful Life" or "John Q" or all the other scores of movies that I've seen with her.
There are very few people that I look up to as much as I do Jackie. She has a trusting faith that I try to model, and usually fail at. She has more wisdom and practical knowledge than I'll ever have. She has an enormous heart for people that I typically lack. She's the reason that I read what I read and like to write. She's easy-going and finds humor in almost every situation, and there's no way I could count the laughs we've had together.
And at the same time, she's not only my big sister, but one of my closest friends. It seems a little odd maybe that would be the case for siblings of opposite gender that are seven years apart, but it's true for us. When I'm frustrated about something and need to vent or whatever, she's the person I call, and I know that she'll always be there and understand and encourage. But she'll also tell me when I'm being stupid and will set me straight. She's able to relate with the crappy times in my life, because she's gone through them too. She knows my hurts and my laughs and everything in between in a way no one else does.
I've been thinking lately about how relationships change. You might be pretty close with someone, but then they move or get married or start hanging out with other people or just start ignoring you all together. People lose contact, lose frienships, start new friendships, and cycle back around. Two people can be best friends one day, and a couple years later have no contact beyond Christmas cards. And that kind of sucks, I think. Sure, situations and life change, but why are we so terrible at retaining relationships. Why do the good things have to fade away?
My relationship with Jackie has been different though and has been one of the most stable things in my entire life. She's always been there for me, and I know that she'll always be there for me in the future. She's never been embarrased to have me around. When she was in high school and I was a noisy, annoying elementary kid, she wanted me around. When she was in college and I was a pimply-faced middle schooler, she wanted me around. And now that she's out of college and has a house and a job and a dog, and I'm a 20-year-old guy whose maturity does not live up to his age, she wants me around, and that means the world to me.
Things change. I hope that my friends now will still be my friends in five/ten/twenty-five years. But that's hard to gauge, and chances are, our bonds will be somewhat looser down the road. But I don't think my relationship with Jackie will change much. Her last name may, but her place in my life won't. She's one of the most incredible people I know, and I love her a whole whole lot.
Also, I am very awkward and cannot dance.