Today is a very special day for me. 29 years ago, my best friend was born. She also happens to be my sister. We’ve been essentially tied at the hip from the time she could walk.

Have I always been the best older brother? Negative. I know that I have fallen short in the category. Where I failed as an older brother, I strived to make up as a best friend. There are a few times that come to mind where I have failed, though.

One of the most painful memories from my childhood, one that makes me tear up every time it comes to mind, is when I was around five years old, which places my sister around three years old. I wanted to go to my best friend’s house, and my sister wanted to join me. I said no. She, being the stubborn and driven girl that she is, decided to follow me. We walked down the street, and I walked faster and faster to keep away from her.

“Jashon [Jaxon]! Jashon! Wait! Wait fo’ me!” I stopped, turned around, and yelled, “GO HOME! I don’t want to play with you! GO! HOME!” She turned around and ran home, crying.

And now I’m crying.

The next moment happened in the recent past. My sister and brother-in-law were generous enough to open their home to me when I was going through a divorce. I worked sixteen-hour days between two jobs and now had to find a way to pay for a divorce attorney (not cheap!), child support, bills, etc. If it weren’t for their hospitality, I wouldn’t have made it. Then, they told me that they were ready to pursue one of their dreams: a new home. That meant that I would have to find a new place to live. Mind you, I had been living with them for a year at that point. My plans to find my own place kept being derailed by unforeseen expenses. That divorce attorney ended up costing $8,000. Oof.

I was stuck in me, me, me mode. All I could think about was how this was going to affect me. I wasn’t happy for them. How could I be? Couldn’t they see how their dream negatively impacted my life? All the showings required no one to be home. That meant that I had to find new places to take my daughter during our visitation nights. It often meant we had to eat out. I began to turn my pity party into a rave of resentment.

I snapped.

I don’t recall what was said, nor how everything played out. All I know is that I hurt my sister. I was very unkind and extremely ungrateful. I no longer wanted to even speak to her. And I didn’t for months.

I knew that it wouldn’t last forever. I knew that, with time, things would go back to normal. They always did. We’d move beyond it or forget about it (perhaps only pretend to forget about it). And I was right. We moved on, and everything seemed as though nothing had ever happened. In fact, it seemed like we were better friends than ever!

The thing is, reconciliation requires more than time; it requires an apology. It requires that the party, or parties, recognize the error, the damage done, and resolve to do better. Without an apology, the door to the past remains ajar.

Today is a special day. Today is my sister’s birthday. She has taught me so much. She has always been there for me, and I will always be there for her. She’s my best friend, and I am constantly amazed by her resilience, tenacity, determination, and the size of her heart. She taught me so many life lessons, and I couldn’t be more proud of her and grateful for her than I am.

Happy birthday, sissy!

P.s. I still owe you a manuscript for your birthday. Oops!

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