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Learning to share not easy at any age

My parents’ chiding still rings in my head.

“Daryn, you need to learn to share your favorite doll and toys with your little sister.”

Ah, memories of being 8 years old and being taught to share.

Now as an adult, it seems to me of all the absurd things we try to teach and expect kids to do with ease, it is sharing. As if you’re supposed to be happy about loaning out your most prized treasure. A grownup version of that might be your girlfriend saying, “I love your diamond engagement ring! Can I wear it for a week?” Or “I love your house! Can you move out and let me live there for a year?”

So it strikes me with some amount of bittersweet irony, that a year into marriage, I find the treasure I’m now expected to share is, in fact, my younger sister.

What a busy 18 months it has been! My sister and I have both gotten married for the first time. We’re living 1,000 miles apart, consumed with jobs and all that comes with new families.

“Do you realized we haven’t seen each other in a year?” I asked her the other day, stating what would’ve been an inconceivable idea in the past. “How did that happen?”

I’m probably biased, but I think this is no ordinary sisters’ relationship, as we’ve had more than our share of quality sister time. It’s one of the unappreciated aspects of a very extended singlehood (fancy words for not getting married until I was 49). For many years, my younger sister and I took trips together and celebrated holidays. We had countless hours to share, giggle and confess our darkest fears. True quality sister time.

Oh, how I was looking forward to more of that as we began to plan her upcoming visit.

“I don’t think it would be a good idea if you guys spend the whole day together when she comes to visit,” my new daughter suggested the other day. “Because that would be like her whole trip.”

Instead she and our other child, my Little Sister in the Big Brother/Big Sister program, have planned a weekend full of haunted house visits, manicures and shopping.

“You can come, too,” was my daughter’s attempt at sharing. “But just know she’s really coming to see us.”

It sure does make my heart swell to see this relationship grow. I just haven’t become a wife and mother. My sister has become an aunt.

“Best gift you ever gave me,” she told me on my wedding day. “Growing our family.”

She’s not just an aunt. She’s Aunt of the Century. She’s hosted the girls at her cabin in The Catskills. There have been trips to amusement parks. And the simple gesture of staying connected with phone calls and texts.

To my girls, my sister has become, sigh, a treasure.

Our treasure.

And so we countdown to her upcoming visit when we will share.

My antidote for the small slice of my sister’s time I will have that weekend? She and I have planned yet another weekend in November when we will fly to see our mother on her birthday.

“Why aren’t we all going?” my daughter wanted to know.

Sorry, kid. This one is my turn. Well, and my mom’s. Won’t she be so proud how well she taught me to share?

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