When Sydney was born and was growing through her toddler years, it was easy to see that I was the center of her universe. She and I were, and are, very close. But when Emma was born, it didn’t take me long to discover whom the center of her universe was to be, her big sister Sydney. Oh, I knew she loved me, as fiercely as I loved her, but Sydney was her role model. Understanding the idolization I had of my own big sister, I understood and accepted this. It even made me smile. But with Sydney going off to college in the fall of 2010, I have to admit, I was a little unsure. Would Emma and I be lost without her? Or would the two of us grow closer? I hoped for the latter, of course, but I didn’t want to try too hard or have too high an expectation. So I relaxed and let time answer the questions.
The night before Sydney was to leave for college, both Emma and I were anxious. We bonded in our trepidation and, has always been our nature, in our nervous state, we got silly. Quickly naming a pair of plants, we both grew antagonistic. We told Sydney she’d been replaced. "Albert and Eva" would keep us company from now on. Sydney rolled her eyes at us both as Emma and I, tired and exhausted in our emotions, laughed until we cried. The next day we watched Sydney leave with her Dad, making her way to college. Emma and I went upstairs to my bed, fell into each other’s arms, and sobbed. We hung onto one another for at least an hour. And it turns out, we never let go.
In the months that followed, Emma and I grew closer. The year brought us new challenges and incredible unanticipated hardships, such as when our beloved family dog had a stroke and had to be put to sleep. I will never forget how Emma was there for me that morning. That morning taught me that if I ever had to face Hell on earth, I would be okay if she were by my side. We bonded in our struggles at the start of 2011. Luckily the year improved. But I’ve come to realize that there is no one I would rather face heartache with. Emma is strong, open, mature, and real. She is a force to be reckoned with, but she also has a tender heart. Together we laugh easily and often. We cry too, at all the sad movies, and when we need to de-stress. It seems we're an awful lot alike.
Sydney is home for the summer and Emma and I have each fallen back to some old patterns. The girls go off and giggle in their shared bedroom. I spend time with Sydney and we return to our heart-to-heart talks during our time alone with one another. But every so often Emma comes up behind me and gives me a hug. We continue to talk, to share, to cry, to laugh, to dream. Together. That’s when I know that the fall of 2013 is going to be pretty darn difficult for me. With both daughters gone off to college in a year's time, there’s only one thing I will be holding onto in September 2013. His name is Paul. We'll have five full years alone together, without his sisters. I hope he's ready for me. Because he's going to become the center of MY universe, whether he likes it or not.