One of the greatest things my parents ever did for me was give me a best friend 19 months after I was born. I called her “Baby Jazz” and over the years came up with a dozen other great nicknames, none of which she appreciated because she unfortunately isn’t much of a nickname person.
She also isn’t generally sentimental or overly expressive like I am. She carries her intensity and passion in discipline, perfectionism, and challenges… none of which I relate to naturally. When we were young I used to look at her incredulously, “Are we really sisters?”
My mom always told me, “She will be your irreplaceable friend. Others will come and go. Youalways have siblings.”
No matter how much you don’t identify with someone, how much you roll your eyes, borrow their clothes without asking, and insist your way is better… something happens when you’re constantly pushed together. Be it bunk beds, rallying against little brothers, commiserating about mandatory piano lessons, or going through your awkward phase simultaneously,
one day you’ll wake up next to that same little sister you can’t keep a secret from to save your life and realize that… huh… maybe you are kinda, sorta, in a weird way, irreplaceable friends.
For us it was more extreme than most because we moved a lot. I attended five elementary schools and three high schools. I was blessed to make some amazing friends along the way, a handful remain close today. But the bouncing around can be lonely… unless you come home to the same little sister. She knew the same friends at every school and each new neighborhood along with me. Out of necessity we had each other, even on the days we might not have chosen each other.
When we fought over differences (okay, let’s be honest- when we fought over my lack of responsibility) we had plenty to fall back on. We had code words for everything and a secret sign language we used so Dad and Mom wouldn’t know we were still up past lights out. We both took way too long to outgrow barbies. We could go from dirt bikes to sunbathing to talking over a carton of ice cream within an afternoon.
Somewhere along the line some of our goofy pastimes started evolving. My willingness to let Jasmine pluck my eyebrows and play with my hair turned into a real profession. I would have paid her to not do the things to me that she now gets paid for.
We were known to make up dances. Thank you Paula Abdul and Amy Grant (but…ahem… if you’re looking for a certain music video of us circa 1994- I know nothing about it). Years later we laughed about our knobby kneed dances as we coached high school cheer and started a dance team/small group for middle and high school students at our church.
We had a Baby Sitter’s Club in middle school. We now have the grown up, full time version…
Our first long stint apart was when I moved to Whitworth University for college. Later she had a lonely year at George Fox and we ran up a long distance bill.
We got used to splitting our wardrobe up each fall and mastered a system. ”If you get that hoodie then I get that jacket.” ”Fine but then I get the favorite black boots and you get the sub-par pair.”
After our first year of marriage, Sean and I ran out of money and job options in Spokane. Jasmine, who had just moved back to Lynden, called. ”You guys should come work here for the summer. It’d be like old times. We can work berries, rollerblade, and share clothes.” (Okay, maybe the sharing clothes part was my idea.)
A summer of berries turned into a year of ministry… and over a decade of living within an hour of each other.
That decade brought a depth that life brings when you walk through fire, flood, and garden together. From marriages, miscarriages, careers, adoptions, heartbreaks, moves, to me pushing her to think hard and act gently, her pushing me to challenge myself and think rationally, and yes- lots of coffee.
Last fall Lance & Jasmine moved to southern California. To which I numbly replied, “Really? Of all the years?”
But really… would there have been a good year?
Kind people ask me all the time how it’s been without my sister. I’m not quite sure what I say. I think my mouth moves and sound comes out, but I’m not quite sure what I say.
We went to California for Spring Break last week and fit in all the sun, coffee, talks, runs, ice cream and t-ball-with-the-kids moments possible. Ultimately I’ve decided we might as well get this season of distance over with because my rollerblades from 1997 still have a little tread on them. I’m also holding a few choice pieces of jewelry and one pair of jeans hostage.
Just throwing myself out there a bit...