The first question my therapist asks as we sit down to meet is, “So…what brings you here today?” Writing is therapeutic for me. If you haven’t noticed, I tend to say what’s on my mind, and sometimes, just doing that makes the heavy stuff a little easier to bear. So this is what brings me here today…
My sister is moving. The person I share most with in the world won’t be a quick phone call away. The only kids except my own to poop and throw up on me won’t be within driving distance. My confidante, my partner-in-crime, my encourager…will be halfway through tomorrow when I wake up each day. I’m not an emotionally “showy” person. When I must cry, I prefer to do it in David’s lap when no one else can see my mascara run. Today, though, I think the moms at the indoor play area may have caught a glimpse of runny black-brown Cover Girl. There was nothing sad about kids running and playing except that Brynna was doing it without Zoe and AJ. All day, those tears were just hovering right about my cheekbones. I worked so hard to keep them down but at this point, at 7pm the day before she gets on a plane, I’m losing the battle.
First things first, yes, I said sister. I know many who read my blog are wondering what happened to my little brother that he became my little sister, but rest assured. Ryan is still very much himself, and although he’s a grown man, I’ll still always call him my little brother. But 12 years ago, I added another “little” when Vikki was grafted in to our family. The specifics now seem so unimportant. We met in college and through a series of events that brought both misery and blessing, Vikki became a permanent fixture at our house. When she got married, she asked my dad to walk her down the aisle. When Zoe was born, my mom flew to Denver to be by her side, holding her hand. Two years later, Mama stood by my bed in Dallas on a Thursday then flew to Houston to hold Vikki’s again the next Saturday. We call Brynna Grace and Nicolas AJ the “not-so-twins”. I’ve heard people say that tragedy can make or break you. In December of 2008, we found out that in this family, regardless of how you got here, we will face the storm together and let God use it to make us stronger. Zoe was taken to the hospital on the evening of the 19th where they discovered a tumor on her spine. She went in for emergency surgery at 11pm, and my parents were in Houston at 9am. It never occurred to any of us to treat each other differently because we weren’t “blood”. (I still say that’s in question, though. Vikki has more of our mom’s mannerisms than I do. I say there was a hospital mix-up.)
I often feel I have to give a long explanation (as I just did) so people understand just how much a part of me Vikki is. I feel obligated to explain our relationship so they can understand. But really, it doesn’t matter who understands. What matters is that the landscape of my life looks different because Vikki is part of it. What matters is that Thursday will feel totally different than today because she’ll be halfway around the world. What matters is that I’ll have to learn to function with a piece of my heart in another time zone.
I have explained to her and Her David (yes, our husbands have the same name) that you can be sad and excited all at once. I’m excited for their new Malaysian adventure. I’m happy they will get to be nearer to his family than they’ve ever been. I can’t wait to visit a new place on the other side of the ocean. I am so proud of the way Vikki has grown in her faith as she’s handed this process over to God. But in the midst of all that joy and as therapeutic as writing is for me…at the moment, I don’t really feel any lighter. At the moment, I just feel sad.