I couldn't wait to share this one. The title will only be confusing for a moment.
My parents got a phone call regarding two little girls that needed a family to raise them, usually three weeks out of four, depending on their biological father's work schedule. Could be more, could be less. My parents, while having two children of their own already were considering adoption when this call came. There was no passing up this opportunity to bring two amazing girls into our lives. I remember the discussion my parents had with my sister and I regarding two twin girls coming to live with us, and that we would have to share our rooms, our beds, our toys, and our parents. I'll admit at first as a six year old this sounded frightening. Another obstacle was that they were the same age as my younger biological sister. Really? I'm going to have to be the "big" sister of three girls the same age? At six, the responsibility shook me more than i let on. All the normal thoughts of a six year old were in play. You get time to think about being a big sister when your Mother is expecting, however this change came immediately. The circumstance was a little confusing as well. Why would they only live with us "some" of the time? Why did their dad need us to help? The story explained to us was that their dad was gone for weeks at a time for his job. He was a truck driver. Their mom was sick and not a very good mother and was absent from their lives. We later learned what "sick" meant, she was an alcoholic and "absent" meant she left them at home, by themselves, while their father was out working. They were found by their neighbor one day after one of their mother's "disappearances". They had been home at the age of three all by themselves for hours and hours. I still can't imagine how their father felt when he found this out. He needed help, a good family, stability, and we got the call.
The night before their arrival, i couldn't sleep. In the morning I would play the role of big sister to these girls i've never met. What if they didn't like us? What if they were sad because they had to live with us? What if they took over all of my stuff? What if my parents loved them more? It was a scary morning. It was also exciting. We couldn't wait to meet them, good or bad. Morning came, it was still dark outside, my sister and I sat on the couch still in our pajamas waiting for their arrival. The knock at the door came, my mother answered, we peaked around the corner, and there they were. They were so tiny and they looked exactly the same. My sister and I weren't sure what to do, but they left us no choice on whether to like them or not. They barreled through the door doing summersaults and cartwheels! huh? They really did summersaults and cartwheels! Still with sleep in our eyes, my sister and I looked at them with amazement and surprise! We entered the living room, which then became a circus. They had so much energy! They just kept flipping and summersaulting and jumping around the room. My sister and I sat on the couch watching them in confusion. What have we gotten ourselves into? Then out of no where, one of them did the most amazing flip I've ever witnessed! She stood, flat footed, and leaped in the air, flipping over and spinning, and landing right back on her feet!! Something a little girl would witness only on a trip to the circus! I think it shocked her as well?! Her eyes became wide like a bug. We were silent in amazement and awe. She did it again, this time landing smack dab on her back. Again, silent room. She got her breath back and we all started laughing. This was going to be one heck of a great time! They left us no choice. I can't help today but think back and wonder if they were as scared as us. If this was their way to win us over immediately. If it was, it worked!
Soon, the arrangements were made. We decided the best way to handle the new situation was something called a "buddy system". One week at a time we would get to know each other by sharing our room and our beds and our toys. Then, we would switch buddies and learn to share and build a relationship with each other all over again. We took this "buddy system" to the extreme at times, only allowing other's to enter our rooms if they knew the secret pass code, and only sharing our toys with our buddies. I'm pretty sure this happened only because there was no other way to protect our time with the things that belonged to us. After all, everything in our lives were now shared with two extra little people.
There were so many good times, and bad times. It's funny actually, the sharing of our home with them became no longer the difficult part. It was the sharing of time with their biological father. My sister and I had a really hard time when their dad came home from work and they had to leave. They were "our" sisters, we no longer wanted to share them with anyone including their dad. It took a lot of conversations with our parents on why we couldn't just adopt them and have them live with us forever. We were told to think about how hard it was for us to share them, and if it was that hard for us, imagine how hard it was for their father. We then understood, and as difficult as it was, we learned to cherish the time that they were with us, instead of dread the time they had to leave. We learned to be excited for them when their dad would come into town and promise to keep their favorite things safe until they came back. It was a huge learning experience for my sister and I. Our love expanded more than we thought possible. The love we have for them was the same as if they had been carried by our mother. It was as if they had always been with us. The bond we share is stronger than anything i ever expected as that six year old girl.
Each day and each year our bond grows stronger. We depend on them, they depend on us. I'm still their "big sister". I wouldn't change that for the world. I thank their father every night for bringing them into our lives and unselfishly sharing them with us. I thank my parents for opening their home and hearts, they are an inspiration. They did an amazing job as parents combining these lives.
From the days of the circus to the days of weddings, children, new houses, new places, new challenges. Life would not be the same without them.