This I Believe

Hannah - webster, New York
Entered on March 1, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

The seemingly irreparable sibling rivalry between my sister and I having virtually eliminated upon her departure, I believe that relationships are strengthened by separation; that distance really does make the heart grow fonder. Living our lives, every day, we can never truly realize what we have, how much people mean to us, until they’re gone. The longer those we care about are no longer in our presence, the more we miss them and wish that they were here.

Growing up, my sister and I were like oil and water: we just didn’t mix. She was always the Barbie-loving, pink-wearing princess, while I was always the tomboyish type out in the dirt and the mud with all of the neighborhood boys. As time progressed, our relationship failed to make progress. Constant fighting over control of the bathroom, and going behind enemy lines into each other’s closets to secretly borrow that coveted piece of clothing, only seemed to make things worse. I always remember my mother asking us, “Why can’t you two ever get along? My sister is my best friend.” As the days slipped by towards my sister’s high school graduation, the tension only mounted. She wanted no part of me, or the rest of my family, only to cling desperately to the friends whom she would very soon be leaving. So I decided to give up on her. To resign myself to the fact that my sister would soon be gone and that we would never become close, just remain the bitter, bickering siblings we had always been. I was fine for the whole long trip down to Baltimore to drop her off at school. It wasn’t until the door of her dorm closed and we drove away without her that I finally realized that she wasn’t coming home with us this time.

The house is empty and quiet without her around, and it took quite a while to get used to. I wake up in the morning to get ready for school: silence. She is no longer banging her hairdryer on the bathroom counter; the loud clatter of dropping her beauty supplies is gone. Although I enjoy having the bathroom to myself, and the fact that my clothes no longer turn up missing from my closet, I really miss her. For the first time in my life, I am excited to get her phone calls. We have finally begun to speak to each other like civil human beings, and have meaningful conversations with an earnest interest in what the other is saying. My sister and I now look forward to seeing each other, and I even count down the days before each homecoming. I am glad that she moved away to pursue her dreams and independence, but more so because it brought us that much closer and taught us how much we really care about and miss each other. Only a year ago, if someone had told me that I would someday feel so sad being separated from my sister, I would never have believed it.

Being too close to someone for too long can often push you away from that person, more so than actual physical distance. You get sick of them, you think to yourself that you wouldn’t miss them if they were gone, but with that distance comes the realization that they aren’t right there for you anymore. You can’t take the dog to the park together, or go shopping, or out to lunch and you really start to miss those little things about them that you thought nothing of before. Time with them is no longer wasted or taken for granted. I believe nothing brings people closer together than distance.