I haven't seen my sister in almost a decade. In fact, it has been so many years since I last saw her that I'm not certain she has met my 9 year old son.
I wish I would've known the last time I saw her, that it was going to be the last time I would ever see her for I would've memorized the details, the date, the way her intense gaze saw straight into my soul. Perhaps that is why she left me.
My sister has the deepest, darkest, most intense brown eyes I've ever seen. She has the kind of eyes, which have always been impossible for me to read, yet always managed to read mine.
The times I spent with my sister were like auditioning for a game show. She always asked the questions. I answered them. Whenever I would muster the courage to ask questions, she would dodge and deflect. Her rejection wounded me. I stopped asking her questions. She kicked me off the stage.
My sister lives in California and it is easy to push her out of my daily thoughts. I can stuff my childhood memories of her into the deepest recesses of my heart. I pile other memories on top of those and ignore the little triggers, the kindling of my thoughts of her.
Holidays have a way of dislodging those stuffed-down memories and forcing them to the surface where they are still raw, where they burn and wound me. No matter how much I fill my heart and soul with love for other people, my love for her never dissipates and my need for my sister never wanes.
My family tree is long and complicated with gnarled branches and knotted stubs where branches should've been and once were until disease, distance and divorce severed them from me.
I was born into a house of horrors with an abusive, alcoholic biological father and a heroic mother. She escaped and saved me and my brother. My mother remarried a man, who became my adoptive father, my real dad. The dad who dried my tears, held me when I was sick and tough-loved the heck out of me. He had two daughters, my sisters.
Ari was 13 months younger than I, and Alana was five years younger. Alana fell in love with me instantly with an intensity that made me giddy. Alana ran into my arms, and I fell in love with her forever.
Ari was skeptical. Ari had an old soul like I did. She, too, carried the battle wounds of divorce and the devastation an alcoholic parent can create. She guarded her heart the way I guarded mine. We had too much in common except for one big difference: I wanted to talk and share. I wanted us to be sisters. She wanted me out of her life.
While my relationship with Alana remains a constantly changing, confusing one, I don't doubt we will reconnect. We've danced before. My heart and home are always open for her, as long as she is sober. I'll never give up on her.
But this blog post is for Ari. Ari, whose eyes see too much, whose love and acceptance I've always craved, whose heart closed to me years ago.
All I want for Christmas is Ari. I'm not greedy. I will take anything she can give me. It doesn't have to be some magical, cinematic closing movie airport shot with hugs and kisses and promises of forever. My wish is simple: a phone call, a text, an email, or a Facebook friend request acceptance.
I need you in my life, Ari. While we may not share DNA, you are my sister. You have been my sister since the day I first met you. I was wounded and broken and walking around with my sad eyes, which have always been too scared to look into anyone else's, yet I took a risk and looked into yours.
I know I've hurt you. I've made dozens of mistakes. I've been selfish and sometimes just plain vile. And I am sorry. Gosh, I am so very, very sorry.
But I'm a grown-up now. I have three wonderful children, who know all about you from the stories littering my brain and spilling from my heart. The stories that no matter how hard I try to forget and erase, I just can't do it. And this is how I know that I need you in my life.
Ari, it would be so much easier to erase you, to pretend that I only have two sisters instead of three. But I can't. And it hurts. Please, tell me how I can fix this. Please, let me try. I will do whatever it is you need for me to do. We can start slow. I won't ask for more than you can give. I will accept whatever boundaries you set for our relationship as long as it means we can begin anew.
Dearest Friends and Readers, I wish you peace and love during this holiday season and in the new year. May you never take your treasured relationships for granted. May you never let a single day pass without letting those around you know how you love them, how they complete your life, how your world shines in Technicolor with them in it. For some relationships can never be healed and it is simply not worth the risk.
As for Ari, I love you, sister. I will always be here waiting for you, eager for some kind of a relationship with you. I am now and shall forever be your sister.