The past three weeks, our family had a young visitor from Barcelona staying with us. For her, it was a chance to practice her (already muy excelente) English and experience another culture. For my husband and me, it was a chance to share so many great things about our town, our state and our country with an enthusiastic audience.
For my teenage daughter, it was a chance to feel like she had a sister.
My daughter is an only child which comes with pros and cons. On the upside, she has more stuff (jeans from Abercrombie & Fitch, her own bedroom, a horse). On the downside, she is stuck with an elderly dog and two middle-aged humans an inordinate amount of the time.
Even with a bit of a language barrier, it must have felt great to have a live-in peer.
My own sister and I walked a rather rocky road when we were that age. We were just two years apart and had been thick as juvenile thieves when we were younger. But once we reached high school, we became the teenage equivalent of The Odd Couple.
I was Felix; she was Oscar.
I was neat; she was ... not.
I was the control freak; she was the free spirit.
I was the short-haired brunette; she, the long-haired blonde.
I was a bit of a nerd; she was cool and popular.
At least that's how I perceived it.
At one point, I asked my parents if I could split the master bedroom of the apartment into two long vertical rooms, one for each of us. Later, I asked if I could turn one of the walk-in closets into my own room. They said, "No," and "No."
But time passed and we both went our separate ways. Then something very nice happened. We came back together again. Turns out, we got along much better when we weren't cohabitating. And over the years, we've come to appreciate each other's strengths (and pay less attention to the weaknesses); focus on the similarities (and ignore some of the differences).
No matter what happens, I know my seester is there for me.
So today, I'm very happy to share an interview my sister recently did with my favorite online magazine Women's Voices for Change (full disclosure: I'm one of their contributors but I think I'd love it anyway). I invite you to read it and see how a free-spirited teenager has evolved into a wise and wonderful woman.
And, if the current state of my own teenager's bedroom floor is any indication, she may have inherited something from my sister too.