I almost hit my younger sister when I was 16. I didn’t throw the punch because (frankly) I was afraid she’d hit me back. Decades later we had another fight, in the middle of Times Square. We embarrassed our children and each other – all over where we should eat dinner.
I swore in front of the Hard Rock Café I’d never travel with her again.
We’ve grown up a bit, and now our families spend a crazy week together at the beach each summer. It seems the rest of the year we struggle to spend any quality time together. Late night text messages, sporadic phone calls and Facebook posts keep us connected.
So when she called a few weeks ago and asked me to go camping in her new DIY, 60-year old camper named “Rosie,” I broke my Time Square promise and said yes. We were off for a girls’ weekend in the mountains. No husbands and no children (we each have five). Our only immediate worry was whether the zip tie on the trailer hitch would hold until we got to our campsite and cut it off with a pair of scissors.
During the day we hiked and stood under waterfalls, posing for pictures. We ate at roadside restaurants and won trivia contests (well, she won … but I gave her the answer). My sister took me to local shops she knew by heart … and helped me find clothes that made me feel young and chic, and even a little bit like her.
We canoed and sat in silence, looking at the mountains on the skyline. And then we talked … about growing up, growing old, making mistakes and making peace with ourselves and our imperfections.
It turns out we had a lot in common.
We sat under the stars at night, in pink chairs surrounded by the same color flamingos. We phoned our mother and let her know the same two girls who fought so hard years ago were happy and laughing outloud with each other. We went to bed early and slept late.
And we took care of ourselves for the first time in a very long time.
You see, we were both searching for something. Maybe we were searching for some rest, maybe we were searching for reassurance, and maybe we were searching for a little piece of our souls we had unselfishly given up for others over the years.
We found all of this, plus a whole lot more.
I went searching for my soul … instead I found my sister … and my friend.