72: Lost and Found

72: Lost and Found

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens

Lost and Found

A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.

~Marion C. Garretty

My sister Shannon and I have always had a unique relationship. My other friends and their sisters always fought and claimed they hated each other. But my sister and I were different. We always sought each other’s guidance and help. Shannon didn’t think of me as her bratty younger sister, and I didn’t think of her as my annoying older sister. Sure, we had our fair share of fights, but we could never stay mad for long.

As we got older, my sister started hanging around with her friends more. It didn’t bother me because I was only in second grade, and I didn’t know any better. But as time wore on and I became older and wiser I began to notice my sister’s change of behavior toward everyone, especially my parents. By the time I was in fourth grade and she was in eighth, I found that she started to do things behind my parents’ backs that weren’t necessarily bad, but I still didn’t like it. I tried to convince her to change, but she refused. She told me to relax and not to freak out, that she wasn’t doing anything wrong. I tried doing what she said but it didn’t feel right, and soon I was back to nagging her to stop.

Then high school came for Shannon and everything changed — for her and for me. She started to think of me as her bratty younger sister, and I felt as if I had lost my connection with her. But instead of growing apart from her I was constantly trying to get back into her life, which irritated her even more.

One night I asked her if I could sleep in her room, something we used to do constantly. But this time she didn’t use her repeated excuse of, “Not tonight but maybe some other time. I’m too tired tonight.” Instead she responded, “Hailey no. Not for a while, okay?” Being the curious little sister I was, I asked, “Why not?”

And she said, “Because I said so, now just leave me alone!”

With that she stomped off to her room and slammed the door shut, leaving me sitting on the floor shocked. I came to the conclusion that I had lost my sister forever. I sulked and walked to my room. I quietly shut the door and fell asleep.

That night stayed with me through fifth grade into sixth. My parents told me I was being a drama queen, which made me even more angry and upset. They didn’t know what it was like having a sister who used to care about me, but no longer did. I took everything very personally. Without my sister’s support, I was falling apart. I couldn’t have been more depressed.

Then something happened on my mother’s birthday that changed everything.

My mom had picked me up from a friend’s house to get ready for her birthday dinner. Everyone in our family was coming. As usual, while getting ready, my sister ignored me and I ignored her back. When we arrived at the restaurant, we got a pager that was going to beep when our table was ready. While we were waiting, I tried a couple of jokes. Both my parents laughed, but my sister just rolled her eyes. “Of course,” I thought to myself. Finally, our beeper went off and our waitress seated us in a booth. I was forced to sit next to my sister.

The dinner went smoothly — some small conversation, but mostly eating. Then at the end of the meal, my sister said to my dad, “Hey Dad, can you do this?” She took her hands to her face and made a funny look. Then, after her hands covered her face and she reappeared, she was making a different face. “I can only do it with two hands though,” she explained.

“No, I cannot do that, Shannon,” said my dad, answering my sister’s question.

Shannon’s face fell. “Oh... well Hailey definitely can’t do it with one hand! Show him, Hailey!” I felt everyone’s eyes on me.

“Well... okay....” So I tried... and failed. Everyone started laughing which made me start to laugh. It felt good to laugh. So I did it again... and again... over and over. And just as I had hoped, everyone continued to laugh... even my sister. I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I felt equal with my sister again. All the way home from the restaurant, my sister and I giggled together.

After years of searching for our lost friendship, it had finally been found. It took the most unexpected event in the most unexpected place to find Shannon, but in the end it didn’t matter where we were. All that mattered was that we found each other and our bond again. My sister and I may lose that bond occasionally, but we will always find it. Sometimes all it takes is a funny face.

~H.M. Filippelli

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