I know exactly when it was. Last Saturday at precisely 9am.
If you’ve ever been to Sydney Airport’s departures drop off zone you’ll appreciate how little time they give you to say goodbye. As you ascend the ramp, you’re met with guys wearing hi-vis vests and angry faces as they direct your car to where they think it should go. If you manage a park in the designated drop off area (and good luck to you), then they’ll eyeball you while you say your goodbyes lest you take too long or God forbid, move away from your vehicle to get something superfluous like, I don’t know, a trolley for your bags.
On Saturday, we dropped my little sister at this evil conveyor belt of rushed hugs and panicked farewells. As my husband lifted her bags onto her trolley and we fell into each other’s arms, she said, “Gosh, no time to get emotional!” And then we promptly got emotional.
My sister lives in Canada, which completely sucks. Canada is a nice place, I’ve visited and I liked it, they have maple syrup and nice scenery and I appreciate the way they roll their rrrrrs and say ‘aboot’. I have nothing against Canada, except for the fact that it has stolen my sister from me, twice now, and frankly, I don’t think it realises how damn lucky it is to have her.
Because my sister isn’t just any sister. She is the most generous person you’ll ever meet. As a child, she used to buy me things with her pocket money – most famously, a Chicken Dance cassette tape. As an adult, she has shouted my mum, sister and I to a mother’s day at a spa, looked after my children, sent me things from overseas when she knew I was sad. What I’m telling you is a drop in the ocean. She is amazing.
She’s also the only person in my life who I can craft with or watch really bad TV with. We have almost 34 years worth of love and history between us. I want more. More memories, more dinners together, more movie nights and shopping dates and just.. more.
After she leaves, I walk around the house with a hole in my chest and tears threatening. I hate that she lives up there and I live down here, and neither of us are near the rest of our family.
I can’t help but feel that this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.
So on Saturday when I drove away from the drop off zone and saw her standing there, pink-cheeked and glassy-eyed, you can bet your bottom dollar I cried. Because my kids were in the car, I kept it as discreet as possible (sunglasses, tissues and lots of sniffing) but I wanted to sob so bad that my throat ached.
Lil’ sis. We’ve said it a thousand times. There will always be a bed in our house with your name on it.
Come back, Poohead.