“For there is no friend like a sister, In calm or stormy weather;

To cheer one on the tedious way, To fetch one if one goes astray,

To lift one if one totters down, To strengthen whilst one stands”

-Christian Rossetti, Goblin Market and Other Poems

“Oh my gosh! They are in our club house!” I yelled. My sister, Breckon (who is a few years older than me), and I were in her new room where we had a perfect view of the “clubhouse” in the woods in our backyard. Now the clubhouse was really this dilapidated shack that I’m sure was filled with asbestos and tetanus. But, to a kid, it was a getaway where we could convene and be in seclusion from the grown-up world. The best thing about the house was that it was surrounded by the thickest of vines that you could climb and swing on. It really was a kid’s dream.

The house that we moved into was abandoned for a long time. Yes, we moved into THAT house. Since it sat empty so long, the neighborhood kids staked out the clubhouse and claimed it for their own. Breckon and I didn’t care too much about that. We can all play together, right? Nope. The gang of kids did not want us to encroach on that house and made it very clear.

The first time we saw them, Breckon and I ran out back and walked into the woods to greet them. You know, we wanted them to know that we are new here and want to be part of the gang. Yeah, they didn’t like that whole idea. I think that was the first time I learned a lot of four letter words. You see, I was only in elementary school and I was way out of my league. But, not my sister; she was in middle school and she wasn’t afraid of anybody. Our first visit ended with the fact that we had rightful claim to the house since it was on our property and the neighborhood kids shot us the finger. That about sums it up.

To further claim the house, we decided we were going to paint it. It was in desperate need of a new coat, and my parents had tons of green paint left over from the renovation that they were doing to our new home. As we prepared to paint the house, we noticed the gang out back. The “gang” consisted of about 5 kids, most of them being boys that were about my sister’s age. They had formed a line in front of the clubhouse so we couldn’t pass. They were waiting.

When I told her that they were there, she called her new friend that was our neighbor to come over to help us. You know, strength in numbers. We gathered all of our painting supplies and made our way down the trail to greet our adversaries.

I’ll never forget what happened next.

Here we were…two teenage girls and one tag along little sister standing against our Goliath (really a wall of dirty middle school boys). We stood in silence for a bit, and then their “leader” Duncan spoke first. “What do you think you are going to do with that paint? I hope you don’t think you are going to paint our house because that ain’t gonna happen.” I know my place. I’m little, and I’m going to get totally squished if I say anything. I look up at Breckon, and she doesn’t look rattled at all. Total confidence. I think it’s so cool. She opens up her can of paint and dips her paintbrush in it and says to Duncan, “I’m going to paint that house today. And if you stand in my way, I guess I’ll have to paint you, too.” Duncan smirked and looked to the right and left at his toadies and, “I dare you.”

My heart is about to beat out of my chest. I look at my sister. What is she going to do? My sister’s new friend looks just like I do. She probably wishes she never came.

Breckon walks straight over to Duncan and says, “I said, move or I’m gonna paint you!” He refuses. If she backs down we lose respect and the house. If she does it, this could lead to neighborhood kid territory fight. It’s very dramatic. Then, she takes that paintbrush that is dripping with thick green paint and starts at Duncan’s chin and proceeds to paint a straight line all the down his plaid polo shirt.

My mouth just hangs there. I’m speechless. She did it. She really did it. Duncan felt the same way, too. His gang was looking for some kind of instruction from him. Do we attack? Do we retreat? What do we do?

Duncan, to my complete surprise, starts crying and says that his mom is going to be so mad. He gets on his bike and rides as fast as he can out of there. His cronies follow his lead. We won. The clubhouse was ours. It was amazing.

That was just one of the adventures that we had as kids. I was blessed enough to be born as Breckon’s little sister. Not all days were like this. Some days we fought like cats, and other days we were inseparable. Such is the lives of sisters.

As adults, I am still in awe of her. I still think that she is beautiful, strong and yes, so cool. She was my very first friend, she is my sister.

If you were born in a family with ten kids, or if you are an only child it doesn’t matter. God allows us to have connections with others, and some of those from our childhood. Isn’t it wonderful to have someone know you intimately, inside and out? No explanations, they just know? Those kinds of relationships come from being vulnerable with someone, living life and making memories together. It can be scary to know someone so deeply, but it is so rewarding.

So grateful for all the connections I have, and so blessed that it all started with my sister.

If either one of them falls down, one can help the other up. But, pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. –Ecclesiastes 4:10

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