the tire swing

My older sister stomped off in the opposite direction of the tire swing. I huffed & pushed my feet off the ground to get the swing moving again. The big branch that held it swayed a little less than it had when we both sat on it 2 minutes before our silly little argument. What was that argument about... How high the swing could go? Spinning vs. swinging? I really don't remember. The babysitter stood somewhere between the stomping feet & the swaying branch, looking back & forth between us before she moved closer to the swing.

"It's silly to fight with each other like that." She pushed the tire swing to give me the momentum that my 8-year-old legs were struggling to produce on their own.
"We always fight." I stated, matter-of-factly.
"Do you fight with your friends like that?"
"No. But they're my friends, not my sister. She isn't my friend." The sun was getting lower & lower, so I knew my outside playtime was coming to an end. I did not want to waste it discussing my older sister.
"I used to think that about my big sister. But now she's my best friend. You're going to grow up, & she's going to be one of the only friends that you keep forever."
"No, I don't think so. We don't really like the same stuff." I smiled because I knew better. I had at least six friends that I was going to keep forever. And two American Girl dolls, but that was besides the point.
"I think you'll be surprised. Just wait & see."

Later that night, I brushed my teeth & stood on my tiptoes. Standing on my tiptoes helped me imagine what grown-up Kelsey would look like. Obviously, I couldn't be shorter than everyone else forever, & the bathroom sink would be eventually be at my waist rather than my chest. What would my face look like? Would my hair be brown like my mom's by then? My sister & I had already forgotten about our earlier argument. It was time for us to help put our younger sister to bed & get ready for bed ourselves. I tried to imagine us both as grown ups. At one point, we had designed next door houses that were joined by a water slide...

We ended up with a new baby sister a few months later, & that made four. Four different girls, four strong personalities, four unique styles. There were many more arguments. Bigger arguments, more opinions, longer grudges. We are all so different & our opinions still differ SO greatly... & there's always a chance that someone is stomping off in the other direction. But they have lasted much longer than those six friends in 4th grade (& I can't even imagine what state the American Girl dolls are in) or even the tire swing. This conversation from nearly 17 years ago has stood out in my memory, though - It's a memory that has very vividly stayed with me & over the years, I've kept coming back to the babysitter's prediction, waiting for it to happen. & slowly, as we've all grown up, & the bathroom sink now sits at our waists, it has.

We're still growing up, but the babysitter was right. I have three of the wackiest friends that kind of look like me & that I would never pick out of a crowd. & they're here forever.

... So, that waterslide is definitely still an option.

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because lezz be frandz.