Friday, March 13, 2009


Meet my kid sister, Boo. Actually, her name is Celeste, but I honestly don’t think I have ever called her that. Boo is three years younger than me, three inches taller and three times more talented at all the things I wish I was good at.

As young girls, we were often asked if we were twins. Our mom styled our matching long brown hair the same and dressed us in coordinating outfits every day. Boo and I both played soccer and competed in horse shows together. We shared a bedroom from birth through high school.

But soon things started to change, and we declared our independence from each other. We drew partitions in our room for separate space, but it never lasted, because one of us got solo access to the clothes closet while the other possessed the only doorway out. When we were forced to share a queen bed on visits to Grandma’s house, we lined all the pillows down the center as a median. There could not have been a more opposite pair. While I’d stay up all night reading “Babysitters Club,” she’d rise before the sun. In high school, I was the bookworm cheerleader that struggled for dates; it only made it worse when my more beautiful little sister showed up on the scene, a social standout with a mob of male fans. I lit up the stage as a performer while she lit up the volleyball court as a sports star. In reverse… let’s just hope Mom lost those home videos.

Our differences have followed us into adulthood. Take our weddings, for example: my sister asked me on a Thursday to meet her at City Hall two days later. We went to a local BBQ joint with a few family members after the ceremony. In contrast, when I got married, the event was meticulously orchestrated, from the custom gown to the religious ceremony to the formal dinner reception attended by hundreds. We each had the wedding of our dreams. I have moved from New York to Los Angeles working glamorous gigs in television, now settled with a family in a neatly manicured neighborhood. Boo is a medical student (did I mention needles make me sweat with anxiety?) living with her husband and Labradors in a home she remodeled with her bare hands on acreage in the Sierra Nevada wilderness just a short drive from our hometown. I make killer brownies, and she’s killed a bear.

Growing up with a popular, talented younger spirit like Boo was tricky, sometimes downright torturous. So, why then, when I recently learned I was expecting a second child to join my daughter, did I fervently pray for another little girl? Why would I incessantly ask God to send my Sophie a little sister, one who might potentially steal her clothes and read her diary?

Because as different as we are, there is nobody more like me than my sister. We have matching freckles across our nose and identical laughs and a funny white birthmark on the backs of our arms. It isn’t just genetics that connects us, it is our shared experiences. We suffered through piano lessons and our parents’ mid-life crises side by side.

A pivotal moment in our sisterhood was a short time after we had grown up and moved several states apart, both single young women conquering our own worlds. In a freak multi-car pileup, I nearly lost my life on a Southern California freeway. You know how they say your life flashes before your eyes? Well, mine did, and I thought of Boo. I went through physical therapy, saw a counselor for Post-Traumatic Stress, and replaced my totaled car. But it was only when I reunited with Boo and we embraced in tears that I felt okay. My sister was my safety.

This June, I’ll hand my Sophie her new little sister to hold for the first time. First, I hope she doesn’t drop her on her head. More importantly, I dearly hope they’ll bike through the neighborhood together and argue over boys and share music and be sweetest friends. I dream they will share the laughter and friendship and safety I share with my sister. And yes, the freckles, too.


Laney said...

Hey Allison - I guess since you know I'm a blog stalker now, I should make a comment once in awhile, huh?

Your sister looks so much like you! And having three sisters of my own (two older/one younger) I could totally relate to this post. Super tender. :)

Alicia said...

I think --yep-- I am crying. :)

Larson Love said...

What sweet words about sisterhood. I can not believe how BEAUTIFUL Celeste looks just after killing a bear. WOW!! I tried hard to have Michael be my sister, but he was not in to makeup or talking about boys rather he shooed them away being the big protector. I am now blessed to have you as my sister and he and Scott both as my protectors. I am dying to meet Sophie's kid sister and am excited to have her be part of our lives.

C Crane said...

Feel the same way. My sisters and I couldn't be more different, but it is nice to always have a best friend around that understands you. I looked at my list and I am pretty sure I know who your secret crush was so long ago. Won't post it here, but . . .!

C Crane said...

Also, here is that site I told you about to track your visitors.

Janie said...

Where would we be without our sisters? This post was so tender and I feel the same love for my own sister. I can't wait to meet Sophie's little sister!! What a special bond sisterhood is.