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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Milestones

Mom's living room plays like the soundtrack to life in this house over the last twelve years. The birds trill through household noises and sayings, all accumulated through the girls' silly talk, phone conversations and pet scolding. The fish tank cycles water in the background. Cars cruise by 10 feet from the living room wall (a sound so familiar I have to pay attention to notice it.)

My baby sister graduated from Wenatchee High School yesterday. I'm in a little bit of shock I think.

I remember Erica as a baby - literally standing in front of me in diapers shaking two cookies at me like a voodoo queen, flinging toys and yelling at five year old Natalie for not giving her ALL the Barbies, and snuggled up in my lap while I read to her. My Mom took a photo of the two of us passed out in the chair during one of those reading sessions. I realized she was asleep and gave up on the book, deciding instead to close my eyes and enjoy the peace...

I'm eleven years older than Erica, seven years older than Natalie, and I've always felt more like a little Mama than a big sister. I moved out two days after graduating in Omak and headed straight for the coast. My Mom, her husband and these two beautiful girls moved down to Wenatchee that summer and started a completely new life. They opened a store, bought the house, and launched into a crazy routine of wake up and survive while working too much (them) and growing too fast (the girls).

It was weird to go 'home' to visit when this really wasn't my home. I never lived here. This was their space. 

And now Erica will experience something similar. She's graduating from the local college next Friday with her Associate's Degree. (I'm so proud of her I can't even get emotional about it. I'm stunned and awed.) Then she's moving to the coast. Natalie won't be far behind her. The house will not wait for them to return and visit - Mom plans to move out and start a new chapter with her newly earned degree. She graduates next Friday as well. She and Erica will walk together. Its killing me that I won't be there to see it...

So my baby sister is taking off, starting her adult life as a simultaneous high school and college grad with no childhood home to go back to. So much change in such a small amount of time...I remember what that feels like. I can't wait to see what she does with all the life and space and places ahead of her. I wish I could bottle up the way this house sounds and smells and feels so that she can revisit it when she needs to, because she will.

Instead she will have only memories and photographs like I did, and that will work because really, this was just the beginning...the best is yet to come.

I love you little girl.

Natalie (22), Erica (18) and I (29!) - taken by Mom

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