9:24 AM

   I am very lucky. I know that and I'm excited about it, but perhaps the luckiest thing I can claim is my sister.
I'm preeeetty certain that God knew that he was going to put in a family with some people that I really just can only handle if I'm wearing my best fake smile. So, generously, he plunked my best friend right there with me. And he made her four years older, which worked in her favor for the first twenty years, now for the next fifty....

Sorry Dee.
Thank you Jesus.

Really though, we were almost never like normal sit-com sisters. I think we were best friends, co-adventurers and the cliche partners-in-crime since I was a teenager. We spent the early part of the millenium scooping marshmellow puff with plastic spoons in the back seat of her car. We cruised the local Meijer. We shopped. God, we shopped. Actually, we never stopped the shopping part.
We became older. She became a mother, I became a ramen noodle eating college student.

I moved away.
We have talked more hours on the phone than I have slept in my entire life. That invisible conduit of best friendship has been maintained entirely by the telephonic sharing of rotten boyfriends, bad manuevers and, well, everything.
A year ago, I moved slightly closer. Close enough that we are within an hour of each other's residence.
We are back in action.

I love that this person was paired up with me in our family's brand of crazy. She is genuinely my best friend. When I make plans for the weekend, more often than not, they are with her.

I remember when I was perhaps ten or eleven, my best friend, a gal named Janell, lived down the street from me. She was the perfect best friend. She had her own room and tons of Beanie-Babies. And nail polish. And her parents let us watch Titanic. All of it. Yes, even that part. But then she moved and I had no idea. She was just gone one day. She never said goodbye. It was the beginning of the summer when her family disappeared, which was most inopportune for a girl with a whole three months off from school. I grieved the loss for a while, mostly sad for my boredom, I guess. Anyway, once September hit, I decided that I was definitely on the prowl for a new best friend. Ever resourceful, I began with my own street first. I had restrictions by this time: they had to live within walking distance, not have too many pesky siblings and I wanted someone with a TV in their room. I quickly learned I'd have to branch out a bit if I wanted to continue the search. There wasn't really anyone on my street, or bus route, that I wanted to hang out with for more than a bus trip. Boooring.

I was ten (or eleven) when I learned that best friends are kind of hard to come by. As it turned out, my best friend ended up being someone who had the same pesky siblings that I did and shared a room with me, and we definitely didn't have a TV in there, but at least she was within walking distance. The good news was that she also had a car. Zoom-zoom!

Adventures circa 2003. FYI, I am fifteen here and she is nineteen.

Sisters are an unusual brand of magic. It's not uncommon for sisters to grow up to be friends, a really miraculous feat considering the hate that often binds them as children, but I think my best friendship with Deanna is something slightly more special. I have other sisters, sisters that I deplored in my youth and although I've grown up to like them quite a bit, we'll never have the bond that Dee and I have. I rarely even have to say words to her and she'll still know what I'm thinking. A look, we'll laugh and one of us will clarify, "yes, you really did just see that." Then we'll laugh some more. I think we'd be best friends anyway, but good fortune made us family.

It sometimes fascinates me, too, how different we are. She is a mother to a human. I am a mother to dogs. She drinks beer, I drink, well, water. She likes Chinese food. I prefer Mexican.  She has a career in medicine. I am opposed to touching dying people. I'll write all day long. She'll cook all day long.

But, you know, genetics said that we're the same and we decided to roll with it.

I am certain that there are some blessings that cannot be counted enough and usually those are the blessings that I take for granted. Oxygen, for instance. I forget about it, but it's why I can breathe in the smell of coffee in the morning and the warm scent of a baby when it rests in my arms. For now, it's free. How can you count something so simple enough times? My sister is the same. The blessing that makes her endure the same family functions as I do. The way I have a counterpart when I just really want to leave those functions. The way she laughs with me at something completely unspoken. The way I don't have to be guarded at all when I'm with her. I guess it could be considered sad, but I don't have those feelings about anyone else in my family, except my Oma. I have a friendly, albeit not entirely close, bond with the rest of my siblings, but I still feel guarded when I'm around them. I sometimes feel like I will forever be trying to prove myself to them.  I want to impress my brother as much he impresses me. I have to defend my choices to my aunts and uncles. I want my mother to be proud of me. All these things pile up and overwhelm me and sometimes I just need Dee. I don't have to do anything to make her like me. I don't have to prove that I'm valuable and that my choices are right for me. With Dee, I can just be Jenn and together we can just be sisters.

And best friends.

Sometimes I am sure that at least fifty percent of the reason that my life is so good is because I have a sister. And she's a rockstar.

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