This I Believe

Madeline - Rockville, Maryland
Entered on February 22, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family

I want you all to take a moment to think about that one person in your life that is always there for you. Now, try to imagine what your life would actually be like without that person. I believe that the bond between two sisters is something that is not only instilled in us at birth, but is created and strengthened over the course of a lifetime together. William Shakespeare once said, “A ministering angel shall my sister be.” My sister, Jessie, is my rock, my confident, and one of my best friends.

Jessie and I have quite a different relationship from most people. First off, she is technically considered my “half” sister: we have the same mom, with different dads. However, I never really understood why there had to be a labeling to her- she is my sister. She is the person who I can always be myself around and have shared some of the best memories of my life, and she is the person who has truly made me become to person I am right now. Jessie is nine years older than me. When she left she was fifteen, I was six.

I idolized Jessie growing up. I used to sneak downstairs into the basement when she had friends over and listen to their conversations because I wanted to be just like them. I would try and act the way she did. I even remember one time sneaking into her room when she wasn’t there to see what kind of music she had, so that I could listen to the same. I know that sometimes she got frustrated with me- looking back, how couldn’t she? I was always following her trying to do everything in a similar manner as she was. I mean I was five; all five year olds have that older person that they look up to. She was coming to my house every other week, because she was splitting the time between her father and us. I never knew that this person who I looked up to with such awe would leave my life for a few years, without knowing how long it would be until I saw her again, if ever.

It was the summer of 1997 and my family was vacationing in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. We spent our family vacations with another family and had a wonderful week. I remember sitting outside with Jessie as she lay on the hammock, waiting for her dad to come pick her up at the end of our week together. Little did I know that our mother and her father had gotten into an argument earlier in the month. I had no idea what was about to happen to my family. There were not many words, as Jessie and I spent our last few minutes together, all I remember is her getting up and slipping through the fence door, completely unaware that it would be five years until the next time I would see her again.

Over the course of 1997 to 2002, I thought about Jessie every day. I saw the saddened face of my mom on Jessie’s birthday and Christmas and other family events, wishing that she could just see her daughter again. I would ask my mom for the address of Jessie’s father’s house so that I could write her letters, telling her about my school days and asking her when she was coming back to see us, but never received a response. I always wondered if it was something that I did that would make her want to stay with her dad, but my mom reassured me constantly that she would come around, just give it time.

I gave up on writing Jessie letters and I tried to move on with my life. I was in the seventh grade, and was having a horrible year. It was the time full of awkward stages and awkward friendships, and full of confusion. I still always wished that my sister was there for me. In the spring of 2002, my mom got a phone call at midnight. It was Jessie. My mom was right: she had come around. They arranged to meet up for the first time in five years. Jessie hadn’t seen our youngest brother Sam, since he was two. She told us that she was living with the man she knew she was going to marry and everything else that was happening in her life. The reunion was bittersweet, and I was still filled with so many questions that I knew couldn’t be discussed about at that moment- I was just so glad to have her back.

Our relationship began to grow and strengthen and turn into a true bond as the years went on. We both remembered the memories we had before she left, and we were both ready to put the bad times behind us and move on with our growing relationship. As time went on, I finished middle school, went through high school and got accepted into college. Jessie was a part of all of it. She saw me graduate from the eighth grade, she saw me graduate from high school and she was there to congratulate me in my acceptance to James Madison University. Not only has she been there for me in my joyous times of life, I have also been able to be a part of her beautiful wedding, and watch her give birth and raise two gorgeous little girls. Our sisterly bond has been rekindled, and it will only get better and better as the years pass.

I thank God every day for bringing Jessie and I together again. She has become one of my best friends, and I know she will always be there for me, because she is my sister. We talk every day now. I tell her everything and she is there for me when there is no one else to talk to. We help each other and laugh with each other and do everything together that sisters would do. The sisterhood that we have been blessed with has made me the person that I am today. This I believe.