My little sister has always been special. She was born gifted in athletics and has an outgoing spirit. In elementary school she was hit by a car while riding her bicycle and I think that made something about her just a little more magical. She played softball and basketball, rode bikes, and did band... My parents were proud of her. They talked about her. They celebrated her.
My older sister is my mom's confidant. They talk about everything. She is the family sage - the medicine woman.
But me? I remember sitting on our front steps, watching my dad work on one of his old cars, and talking to him about how mom didn't like me.
I remember following him around our basement. The floor cold beneath my bare feet, the smell of grease and metal filings heavy in the air - his workbench cluttered with hammers, wrenches, jars, and screws - wanting to know if she loved me.
I remember packing a bag to run away, thinking I didn't matter.
A lifetime has passed and no amount of books, journaling, or therapy could give me what I'd longed for, what I needed, what was missing...
I overheard my mom tell a complete stranger how much she loved me...was proud of me...and I was her favorite.
I was thirty-seven years old and might as well have been seven. It was a life changing moment. I've spent a lifetime telling myself her feelings and approval don't matter to me because I didn't think I mattered to her.
...but I do matter.
She loves me.