On purpose. I knew this day was coming. I planned what I would do and what I would say, knowing full well it would make her cry. And I did it anyway.
This is not the first time I’ve made her cry. Much of our childhood was spent sharing a bedroom. We were oil and water, morning bird and night owl, neat freak and messy bessie, forced to endure the limitations of homes with fewer bedrooms than the number of inhabitants. She has always been the more emotional between the two of us, and since sensitivity to the feelings of others wasn’t something I was born with, you can imagine the outcome of many of our sisterly interactions in our shared space. Tears flowing and me wondering…what?…why is she crying?…
One particular day playing outside, we began squabbling. Hands on her hips and knowing that our parents forbid physical fighting, she cockily dared me to hit her. This opportunity simply could not be passed without action. Normally fearful of getting into any trouble, I think the fact that I socked her in the eye surprised us both! She ran in the house crying, of course. A few short moments later I was summoned in as well. I received a stern rebuke for my actions with no consideration of the logic in my explanation that I had only done what she had told me to….
Other times I inflicted pain without invitation. I remember biting her once (I was definitely old enough to know better) and another time practicing my skills in popping a wet towel. I really didn’t mean to pop her that hard…. Longer lasting were the words spoken that pierced the heart and made her cry.
It took me many years to understand her tears, to understand why we were so very different, and to accept us both as we are. Occasionally her tears still surprise me. But today I was ready. She kept her face turned away, not wanting me to see, but I knew. Yet unlike the tears through the years that were provoked by childish unkindness or grown-up misunderstandings, today’s tears were different. They were provoked by love.
I may not be that great with overt displays of affection or flowery words that convey the depths of the love I feel, but I know my sister. I know what will touch her heart and what she treasures. So today I gave her love the best way I know how. I made my sister cry.