There it is, that dang song. It comes on the radio and my heart sinks. My mind goes racing back in time to the year 2000. I’m instantly 11 years old again.
Fifth grade. The talent show. Could there be anything cooler? My sister, who was in Kindergarten at the time, was totally into singing. Like, she had plans for a life-long career as a pop-star. Her karaoke machine and full-blown professional mic stand in the living room were going to carry the Kistler name into stardom. All year we had planned and practiced this awesome duet. With her mad singing skills and my killer dance moves we would win the hearts of thousands (okay, at least our parents and maybe a teacher or 2). The point is my sister was totally excited.
When it came time to submit a proposal for the show I backed out. I didn’t just back out, I ditched my sister for my BFF of the moment. It was fifth grade, my last chance to show Lea Hill Elementary what I was all about. So, I decided to do a little number with my friend instead.
I can’t remember what we did. I don’t even remember the girl’s name. Clearly, I didn’t sky rocket to fame. But I do remember the fifth grade talent show like it was yesterday. I feel it especially close when that song comes on. My heart stings. My stomach lurches into my throat. My hands sweat. I feel compelled to text my sister and tell her how much I love her and how sorry I am.
You see, my sister still performed. Without me. Alone on that stage stood a 6 year-old girl singing her heart out without her backup singer and dancer, without her big sissy who is supposed to teach her how to be a good person and stuff. She was also without fear, without regret.
My sister taught me something that day. She wasn’t even mad at me (my mom on the other hand…). She just wanted to sing. She taught me that family is family and promises are meant for keeping. She also taught me that the only things you regret are the things you don’t do.
I hate when that song comes on. It’s a stark reminder for me to be a good person, to do what I say. It reminds me to love the people I’m with. It reminds me of Who I Am. So thank you Jessica Andrews, thanks for coming on my radio this morning.
Sorry Rachie. I heart you forever.