My stepsister Sarah lived with us from the time I was in first grade until the end of fifth grade. My three sisters and I loved having one more girl around. That’s not to say we didn’t have our typical childhood squabbles. But for the most part, we were happy to be together, and we shared everything sisters share–clothes, Barbies, gymnastics lessons, dogs named Misty and Watson, a cat named Ralph, and even a duck named Quackers.
After Sarah left to go live with her mom, we didn’t keep in touch very well. But when she moved back in with us her sophomore year of high school, it was like no time had elapsed at all between the two of us. We picked up where we left off, although both of us were crazy, messed up, grunged out teenagers. That year in high school was one of the hardest years of my life personally, but in some ways it was one of the best. Sarah being around had a lot to do with why it was better. We had common experiences and feelings and were able to support each other through all of it.
Then she left at the end of the spring, and again, we didn’t keep in touch well until she had her first daughter, RayAnne. And every year since, we’ve grown closer. I’ve watched her become a more beautiful, complete, spiritually grounded, and mature woman. And along the way, we’ve had a whole lot of fun.
It seems that the best people in my life–whether friends or family–are the ones I can call after six months of no communication and pick up right where we left off, with no hesitation, awkwardness, or lack of topics for conversation. They’re the people who are my touchstones in life, who mark the best and worst of times for me, and who were there for me through all of it. I’m lucky to have several.
Those touchstone people, like Sarah, are the people I’m most grateful for.