I walked into my best friend of ten years home on Saturday night to celebrate my second round of Thanksgiving. She welcomed me with open arms and greasy hands as I stormed into the house like the tornado I often am. This Thanksgiving was special for many reasons. Her first as a married couple, the first in the home she and her husband own, her first turkey. I spent the few days before making fun of the situation, joking that I’d have to stop for edible food on my way down or that this is all just a little Susie Homemaker show. I didn’t want to walk into a home, especially not one without chaos. I didn’t want to believe that this little sister of mine was an adult. That she didn’t need me to drag her out of the art room for causing trouble, that I didn’t need to swoop in and save the day (or the turkey from burning). I didn’t want to see that in so many ways she had grown up before me, despite being 18 months my junior.
I knew that when she got married things would change between us. I knew that I wouldn’t visit the home she grew up in much anymore, that I would now be in a new and unfamiliar place. I knew that there wouldn’t be those long nights staying up, dreaming about what might be. I’d have to dream on my own. And while I’m embarrassed and disappointed in myself for feeling this, I didn’t want to know that she had really started a life on her own, that she was happy in this new place. I wanted her to be that wild and hard to tame girl who wore leopard print every day, would come bolting down the hall way to smack my butt or give me a hug. I wanted to remain the older, wiser, more responsible one.
But she grew up and on without me.
When I moved to start grad school and again for my job, I thought that I was the one growing up and moving on. That I was the one becoming an adult because I left the comforts of home. I was forging my own path. Yet as I sat around the table on Saturday night field questions about where I now lived, what I was doing, and why the hell hadn’t my new significant other stuck around, I realized that I wasn’t as grown up as I thought (and hoped) I was. I don’t know what my job will turn into in two months, I still get homesick at 26, and I can’t get a man to spend four days with me let alone commit to a lifetime. The thought of marriage and owning a home still feels a thousand years away. Throwing myself on the little brother’s lap and getting tickled like I was 16 again, and laughing harder than I can remember doing for far too long, made me realize how much I appreciate being a part of this family. Being comfortable with them, picking up exactly where we left off. And how much I want to share in that.
That some day I might catch up to her.