I started the countdown to Tonga a few days ago. Less than five weeks!
Yes, I know, I can hear you. You couldn’t be thinking it louder: “Really? You’re taking a month-long vacation—with us—and you just started that countdown right now?!”
Seriously. And part of the reason I haven’t started it until now is because I miss my big sister SO much. And starting that countdown before now would have meant that I admitted that fact to myself. I have been trying so hard to be strong, to be independent, to sweep this gap in my life into the recesses so that I can pretend it’s less hard than it actually is.
Because I refuse to give you any excuse to feel guilty for taking the opportunity to go on this incredible, amazing, mind-opening, soul-searching, identity-defining adventure with the love of your life (yes, I know you well enough to know that you feel guilty about leaving sometimes – and you NEVER, EVER, not in a million years, should. But you do, and I have absolutely refused to contribute to it — until now, obviously. Oops.)
Because admitting the extent to which I miss you would mean that maybe I’m not as independent as I would like to believe, that I’m not as strong as I think I am, that my identity involved more than just being “your sister” in this town of people who knew you first and know you better.
Because admitting it without an end in realistic sight was, frankly, too hard.
But here’s the thing. You help to define me. A really big part of me. And when that part is so far away, being your sister is sometimes all that I want to be.
So I started this countdown on a day when the Missoula Sunday Blues got to me – big time. A day when the 60-degree, hyper color days of a fall morning turned to a cold, dark Montana winter afternoon in the space of a few hours, when a perfect storm of inconsequential, small events coalesced into a lonely evening when the only thing I wanted was to talk to my big sister.
So I finally stopped trying to be strong—I’m sure no one really believed it anyway, if they know us at all —and allowed myself to look forward to that day in December when we meet in a tropical airport unintentionally wearing the exact same outfit (how embarrassing).
Because it’s close enough now, not an inconceivable 6 months that you haven’t been here to tell that hilarious thing to that only you would appreciate, to talk about our days, to plan the next adventure, to walk next door with the dog in tow when I need you.
What’s funny is that right now, I can’t picture us in Tonga, because all I can see is your living room with Rob hanging the projector sheet for a movie, cramming into the sauna, your kitchen with the candles lit and dinner on the stove.
Because your Highland house feels like home. But when I land in Vava’u, I have no doubt it will feel like home, too. Because we’ll probably be wearing the same skirt. Just sayin’.
For now, though, I’ll content myself with wearing a wetsuit with a lei for Halloween and toting a sign that says “Tonga or Bust.” You should feel free to wear a down coat with a hat and gloves. You know, because you probably miss that.
Less than five weeks!