We are an army.
It's kind of funny to say that we are a 2 man army, but in a sense, we are.
And when I say "we" I am talking about myself and the girl on the right. She is my sister. She is strong. She is amazing. I can never discredit the others that often join our army, (Jennifer, our parents, our spouses, our kids, our friends) but, sometimes, it is "we" that make up our army.
We have also often referred to each other as "driftwood." You know, that piece of wood that you grab on to when you are floating down river, struggling to stay afloat, and you feel like you are going to sink. But, you grab on to that piece of wood that is slowly, slowly drifting along and it helps you float. That's kind of how we are.
I can't say that we have always been on the same side. I am sometimes reminded that when I was in my younger days, I might have gotten a new pair of wooden clogs, and I might have come home and announced to my sisters: "I bought these shoes to kick you guys with." But, I was young then. :) And not so appreciated. (I also might have been the surprise that came along and intruded on the sisterly duo that was functioning perfectly well without me.) And growing up 5 years and 7 years younger than your siblings isn't exactly the same as growing up with a sibling close in age to yourself. We were really never on the same page of life. I still don't know that we are on the same page, but we relate, and thus find each other on the same side.
We realized that we had this "strong/weak" connection a couple of years ago when my grandmother was sick. We both had really bad days, and we both had good days. But the amazing thing was...we were never really bad at the same moments. If I was crying, she was not. If she was crying, I was not.
This has continued as things have come and gone since then.
Most recently in the past 18 months since we first heard about FA.
(***disclaimer: if the "f" word offends you, stop reading here)
FA is a shitty, fucking disease. I hate it. I hate it for so many reasons, but I hate it because of what it is doing to my nephew, I hate it because of what it is doing to my sister, my brother-in-law, my niece, our family, Justin's friends, everyone that is involved in his life. I hate that there is no fucking cure. I hate that right now, Justin is having his back cut open, halo around his head, central line in his chest, additional IV's in his arms, small steel rods being inserted around each of his vertebrae. A disease that has led to such severe scoliosis that the healing process to this surgery will include him laying on his side being flipped from side to side for up to 2 months. A disease that means that he will never be able to walk through a metal detector again without setting it off. A disease that is so progressive in nature that in a few years, he will be in a wheelchair. A disease that moves from his digits, to his limbs, to his systems and eventually to his heart. I HATE THIS FUCKING DISEASE.
But here's the deal. I am supposed to be the strong one. I am supposed to be the one that supports her. I am the one who is not supposed to cry. I am the one who is supposed to be the army, right? But, I am not always. I have my moments. And you know what? She is the one who is strong for me. She is the one who comforts me. She is the one to say "I'm sorry, I know it sucks. It's going to be OK." The mama of the boy who is suffering is comforting me??? It's because she is strong, and amazing, and she is my sister.
But that's just how we work. Because we support each other. And together, we are an army. An army of two. And sometimes more.