The phone rings. Caller ID. What? She never calls. Crying. Muffled words I can barely understand. Oh. Heartbreak. Anger. Rage. A grown woman devastated by the painful uprooting of all her child memories. Goodbye to the little girl she was when swinging like a monkey in the trees out front. Goodbye to her bedroom. Goodbye to the window she would look out while in bed, smiling at the big Christmas tree on the town green. Goodbye to the only world, the only people, the only streets... really the only way of life she's ever known.
Deep pain because she thinks no one cares about how she feels. Mom and Dad are excited to move on and leave our home she says. I tell her change hurts and I know how she feels, really I do, because I had to leave my childhood home. And in the middle of high school, to boot. She tells me she feels like Mom and Dad brush off her heartbreak like it's a childhood tantrum. I tell her Mom and Dad are too busy, too focused on the future, too focused on ignoring their own heartbreak to justify or acknowledge her pain.
A little sister. Dialing up, hoping to tap in to some wisdom that comes with ten more years of life experience. Her little world is just a speck in the great big universe, but to her, it's all she has. And her world is topsy turvy, tearing apart her heart, her stability, literally ripping from her the very place that she feels defines her existence.
It doesn't. But that's the way she feels. And I understand.
I listen to her rant. I try to console my sister the best I can because this is the same kid whose diapers I changed. The same baby girl who used to sneak out of her crib and snuggle with me on Saturday mornings. The same sister who drew pictures for me telling me to drive carefully.
She gets the crying out, starts making sounds that can be strung together into words I understand, and then I do what any good big sister would do. I start joking with her. She was reluctant at first, lingering on her angst but I conspire - plotting plans to hang out with her as she discovers her family's new city. Telling her about cool shopping spots and fun restaurants. Talking about future roadtrips together to the homespun town of our past. Thinking up scenarios involving movies and margaritas at my apartment. And she suddenly feels grown up.
Grown up and included and ready to handle the biggest change her life has ever faced.