Thursday, January 2, 2014


I hadn't seen my little sister in almost exactly two years, separated by oceans and continents, entire lives that match up in the middle, but no where else.

As the months wore on, I alternated between feeling sorry for myself and feeling nothing but numb. It's always been hard for me to stay closely connected to something so far out of reach.

Life grabs my attention and holds it.
I struggle to make the right kind of space for this relationship. It feels impossible at times.

And all the while, I miss her, my only sister.

She's so much like me, and we couldn't be more different.

Ours isn't a sisterhood decorated with secret languages or telepathy - mental or otherwise.
We've fought and competed, we've saved our harshest words for each other.

She was off wrecking her banana bike and busting out her teeth when I was falling in love for the first time. She was hurling a softball while I was reading a book.
She was 14 when I left home, and it felt like the deck had always been stacked against us.

So, it took a while to really know each other. But we'd made a quiet pact to never stop trying.

We drove up the coast of California together one summer, just before Calvin came home. Jeremy Camp sang us through Santa Barbara and you'll never convince us it wasn't Ava Phillipe we saw turning cartwheels on an open lawn. We stopped at fruit stands, stretched out on sandy beaches with magazines and cherries. We carried our shared history in colorful purses and handed each other chunks of what we had missed, stowing them for safe keeping, finally understanding that despite all we'd never understand, we were as known by each other as two girls could be.

My sister has taught me some things along the way - some of the most important lessons I never knew I needed.

And when I've felt misunderstood by the Universe, she's the one whose words whisper across my inbox - I get you. Our hearts beat the same on this.

I cried when she walked toward us last week.
Silas and Ruby stood at my sides, so excited they could hardly speak.

In that moment, the past two years evaporated. There we were again, and it was going to be alright.

We've already argued and apologized and scratched our heads.
We've already forgiven.
We've already remembered for the millionth time - families weren't made to be perfect or tidy. Families were made for freedom.

Our safety rests in our homegrown instinct to believe the best of each other.

Our future is secure because, come what may, we'll always be right here, holding the magical powers to scatter every lapse of time and every flesh-and-blood failure like the fine white sands of the California coastline.


  1. I'm so glad she's home! Yippee!

  2. Beautifully written and expressed. Glad she's home!

  3. She is as beautiful as ever! Grateful you have this time with her FPFG. xo

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    1. I was trying to say I get this. My sister and I are four and half years apart. The same, yet so different. She was 12 when I left home.
      I'm glad your sister is with you now. Have fun!

  5. ...oh my not only have matching have matching smiles...blessings landy

  6. So glad she's home! I know you'll enjoy every single moment with her.

    Happy New Year to you and your sweet family. Can't wait to see what things God has in store for 2013.

  7. Happy NEW Beginnings...beautiful ladies, beautiful smiles and beautiful big bags...ENJOY this time...<3 blessings <3

  8. The way you put words together absolutely amazes me. You truly have a gift.

    Happy New Year and enjoy your time with your sister!

  9. I have two sisters and they are the ones in this world who understand me in a way that can never be replicated, everything you wrote was perfect and beautiful and I'm sitting in awaiting room crying :)

  10. That was so sweet - I'm actually tearing up! No one is close in our family - emotionally or geographically - so it's really nice to read sweet posts like this. Happy new year to you!

  11. I was so deep in reading your post, that I instantly began boo-hoo'ing when I read that you cried as she walked towards you last week!!!

  12. Enjoy this special time with your sister!
    I'm an only so I can only imagine what joy you had seeing your sister walk towards you!
    PS. Who-Dey! I see a Bengals fan in the background of one of your photos!

  13. You sure look alike. Looks like Dayton airport. Enjoy your visit.

  14. I have two sisters who I adore beyond all reason, we argue, we misunderstand, we come back together and we love each other. I'm happy you have this time together, Enjoy!!

  15. um, it's like you were writing about my sister and i.
    how do you do that??
    how can she be the person i am so at odds with over almost everything...
    yet, i just get her.
    and she gets me?
    only something the creator could have wrangled and designed.
    crazy but good.
    enjoy your visit!

  16. well my friend, we have something in common. my baby sis, who has been living in uganda, is coming to see us next week. as adults we have been great friends, but it was a slow struggle to get there. happy for your time with your sister; soak it all up. we are counting days and breaking paper chains in anticipation for our time next week. wishing you warm drinks and long talks.... your new friend- jen

  17. Sounds wonderful! The visit and the whole sister thing.

  18. Beautiful and you are so blessed! ~hugs~ Enjoy.

  19. Siblings are such a gift! I don't normally comment, but I read every post. I had to comment because I'm elated to see that you are a Noonday fan. Of course you are a Noonday fan! :)

    1. Obsessed with Noonday!
      True story: I was just a movie with my honey and caught myself thinking about that tassle bag randomly. Ha!

  20. Tears. Plain old sloppy heart sick tears... I'm only 1600 miles from my little sister, but every word rang so true! Hugs and enjoy every second of your sister time!!!

  21. My little sis has been home from Africa for 2 1/2 months and now she is going back in a week (and taking 2 of the most precious nephews with her). I'm choosing not to think about it until I have to. Have a great time with your sister!

  22. I LOVE my time with my sister! Enjoy yours!

  23. Yes, you guys are sisters (both so cute). : - )

  24. Farmgirl- you are both adorable and amazing women! I use to follow her blog also through Africa and India, but lost the link. Can you remind me where to find her if she still blogs? Enjoy your time together!

  25. Such a sweet post, Shannan, and such darling, fabulous photos as always! Enjoy every moment of time spent with your sister...

  26. This made me tear up. Love your truth. Family is tricky. I have two older brothers that are more or less strangers... The age difference and miles do nothing but separate. But there is that deep love. Love ya girl. Enjoy your sis.

  27. Love this. My sis lives in Kosovo and we've always been the best of friends (I think because she's so nice, she lets me--the big sister-- boss her around)-- and I miss her every day. In November she came and stayed for almost 3 weeks while we put together her sons wedding in our backyard. It was the best! Cooking dinner together, staying up way to late every night, baking wedding cakes and squeezing in our Christmas shopping. Now she's back to her home, but I'm still warm remembering the time she was here.

  28. thankful for your time together…
    thankful you've already argued and forgiven…that's family. it's real.
    thanks for always keeping it that way.

    ps. she's beautiful.
    pss. you're tall.