She was there even before I was born. She was only two years old as she waited for me, her competition to arrive. And so it began. The rival, as children I can remember when we fought like any other children. We played imaginary games, she took my toys. She bossed me around and was really quite the bully. But that was then. She was strong spirited and free as the wind while I was always the timid one. She always said that I was mama and daddy's favorite. Mama gave me kitchen utensils to play with which she promptly took and sometimes even hit me over the head with them. I had a beautiful Thumblina doll which I loved very much but somehow I kept finding her with her arm ripped off. Mama would always get needle and thread and with the precision of a surgeon sew it back on. Our mama worked full time and we were home a lot to tend the house, cook, and clean. I will admit that it was She who ended up doing the most. I would get a whooping any time she thought it was necessary, then somehow she always talked me into being her best friend before mama got home. Of course no one tells on their best friend. And so was our life as children. I remember the day she married and left me. I was crushed. I was happy for her but I missed her terribly. It was then that I realized how much I loved her. I loved her for who she was. It was then that I really noticed that she was not only my sister but she was my best friend. Through the years we both have changed. She is still strong and beautiful, while I am still the timid one. Not quite as timid as I was as a child because age does things to people. It makes you different, it softens you rough edges yet makes you bold. I grew up and had children of my own. I can remember how very much she loved my firstborn. She bought clothes for her and treated her like her own. She was still strong any time I needed a shoulder to cry on. She was there when my life had difficult twist and turns. She gave me advise and helped me along the way as I became an adult. Yes she was only two years older than me but her wisdom far exceeded that. I depended on her. When my husband had a heart attack at age 45, She was there. Holding my hand, wiping my tears, and helping me go on with my life. When I decided to go to nursing school during my thirties it was She who stood by my side and said you can do it. When I wanted to leave the town I grew up in and work as a travel nurse in Montana she said go ahead. I didn't realize that as I drove away tears were in her eyes. She was there when I was ready to return home, she and her wonderful husband came and helped us move back. Through the years, when life dealt me hard times on one thing I could depend, She was there. And now as I sit here thinking of all my happy memories there is one common thread in all of them, She was there. Not to long ago I received a gift from her. As I opened it to my surprise there swaddled in the tissue paper was something of great value to me. A Thumblina doll with arm intact. As I write this today one thing in my life is still sure, one rock still stands, someone still loves me. She is still here. And so is my bond with my sister, my friend, and her name is Sandy.