MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD
By reading my title you would be correct in assuming that I speak of my sister. Although she had been gone now for many years, thinking of her or hearing her name, brings a smile to my face.
Sisters are unique, not just as all humans are unique, but also because of their place in the family. Is she your only sister? your older sister? your younger sister? or are you a sister to one or more brothers?.
My sister was my only one, older by three years, and unique in so many ways.
My sister's early life was not easy. She was extremely intelligent. In those days, at the private school she attended, the only treatment for the intelligent ones was to have them skip grades. My sister started grade one when she was six years old, and by Christmas of that year, found herself in grade four. And on she skipped, to become a child among young adults - not an easy burden to bear.
He friends were either outcasts - for a variety of reasons - or much older than she, attracted by her intelligence, her willingness to help, and her sweet nature.
As my sister grew older, she turned into a young beauty, attracting envy as well as some unwanted attention from interested males, much older than she.
To me, my sister seemed unmoved by both her unusual intelligence as well as her burgeoning good lucks. She was just 'my sister'.
It would seem, looking back, that my sister drew some of the best cards, and I was inherited the leftovers. Not so. I got the best gift of all, a wonderful sister, who brightened my childhood and threaded her way through my entire life, even to this day - though she left me many years ago.
WHEN WE WERE YOUNG
When we were very young, my sister and I went everywhere together. Every Saturday morning, she took me to the library. One morning as we returned home, she said that when she grew up, she would be a librarian. And so years, and two degrees later, that was what she became.
Whatever my sister learned at school, she quickly passed on to me. It was she who taught me to read, and to learn the basics of mathematics and science. She also taught me to print and then to write cursively - a less successful lesson.
When my sister entered high school, homework became part of her life. Way back then, our elementary school years were homework-free. So I became the drill sergeant, asking questions over and over until her answers were correct. Everything she did was always as close to perfection as humanly possible.
Although I tagged along behind her wherever she went, my sister never lost patience, never showed anger. There was never any name calling or 'tattling'. With endless tolerance, he put up with all my annoying questions and the stupid tricks that only a younger sister could devise.
GENEROUS, KIND, AND THOUGHTFUL,TO A FAULT
As soon as she was old enough, my sister began working on weekends and through holidays. This meant she had more disposable wealth than I, and she was quick to share it. Every week she took me to the movies, which included edible treats. She made all our times together memorable, by her kindness, consideration, and willingness to share.
By the time I began High School, my sister had an established career. She advanced quickly and soon became a 'name' in her chosen field. She was now a mature adult among other mature adults. Was her life then easier? Perhaps.
Throughout her life my sister was the most generous person I had ever known. She never forgot a birthday and was known for sending all her many friends surprise gifts - never needing a special reason for doing so. No child was born to a friend, who did not receive a small gift, as well as a thoughtful 'Welcome To The World' message. No friend experienced grief without my sister at their side with words of comfort and compassionate hugs. If my sister bought herself something special, I too received something special. Every summer she took me for a short holiday, just the two of us together, times I will never forget. I will always wear the ring she bought me when she received her first pay check.
My sister found great joy in being a mother, and her kind nature made her a good one. Although she had never been adept with needle and thread, my sister quickly learned to sew and to knit so she could dress her girls in clothes of her own making.
She doted on her two daughters and they adored her, and with her example, they soon became loving young adults.
Although she worked throughout her life, her children always came first. She was proud of her girls, and they knew, no matter what happened to them or what they did, she would always be at their backs.
HER PLEASURE WAS THE PLEASURE OF OTHERS
Although shy in her childhood, my sister as an adult learned all the skills needed to become a gracious and welcoming hostess. She also learned to cook past any skill set I ever aspired to.
Both her job and her private life held challenges such as few can imagine. My sister rose to meet these challenges, with grace and modesty.
Throughout her later life, my sister was faced with a variety of personal difficulties, which she met with determination, calm, and stoicism. There is no need to describe what difficulties she faced. Enough to say that I'm sure many - including myself - would respond with bitterness and anger, striking back at those who wronged her. Not my sister.
All people are created equal in the sense meant by The Declaration Of Independence. Putting that meaning aside, we know that we all come into the world with a unique body and mind. Some are blessed because of their mental ability, some because of their physical superiority, and some because they have wise parents who imbue them with morals, a compassionate nature, and a kind heart. Some are severely handicapped in mind or body, and the path of life, for them may be strewn with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
To me, it seems as though the more we get, the more we owe.
I know that my sister came into life with more than the usual share of blessings, and I also know she paid back, in spades, all that she owed.
My sister - how greatly I loved her, and how greatly she loved me back.