We all have our first memories and I’ve spent most of my life wondering why I’ve had mine. My memory makes me feel broken, jealous, lost and confused. My memory ultimately makes me feel sad; I should have a better first memory. Who do I talk to about this? There should be sunlight and puppies. There should be laughter and cupcakes. My first memory should include these things. Yes. But it doesn’t. It involves running and hiding and tears.

My sister and I are almost four years a part, technically three years and so many days. The very moment my mother walked through the door with my sister in her arms, I knew life was going to be different. That I would be. This is probably typical for all siblings welcoming another into the home. It’s hard on everyone and there is an awkward adjustment phase. Birth order is introduced. Everyone likely jockeys for position in some form or another. For me, I just remember running and hiding behind a little white rocking chair in my bedroom and my grandmother getting down on all fours and coaxing me out.

“Take her back.” 

It’s all I remember hearing myself say and with the end of those words comes the end of that memory.

The only thing I feel when I think of that memory is sadness. Sad that I felt that way about a sister I love and sad that as little as four years old, I was operating out of such a place as lack.

Take her back. There is not enough room here as it is.

Years later I would discover that my parents married because my mother was pregnant with me. I grew up believing they had to, not really wanting to and the next few years would continually reinforce that theory. Times were stressful and tight and I believe I had felt my families struggle even then.

I obviously could not fix their marriage nor could the birth of my sister and I knew it.

I’d like to believe they were doing their best as any of us would given the circumstance and I was abundantly aware I was the circumstance. If I was going to know abundance, I wish now I had known the abundance of real love, love that fills in every nook and cranny. But I didn’t.

But I do now.

So I sit and ask Jesus where He was on that day, in that house filled with angst and voids because I want my heart to be healed and He laughs.

“I was in your sister August. She was my gift to you so you would not be alone.”

I smile. I exhale and then I sigh. I had never thought of her a gift. But she was.

She is.

I lay in bed and am filled instantaneously with hope. Maybe this is how it is done. Maybe this is how I make friends with my enemies. I don’t know. I am now tired and emotionally exhausted but I sleep and I sleep well for the very first time in months.