Two-part Harmony

My older sister wouldn’t let me be just another brat. Instead, she did some simple things that have turned us into lifelong friends.

Have you ever wondered why you have to have little brothers and sisters who use your lipstick to color pictures, or demolish you biology book as they practice their newfound scissors skills?

Well, I’m the eighth child in a family of nine, and I wonder if I gave my older brothers and sisters such a hard time. Oh, I’m sure that I did things like spill food on their clothes as they were heading out the door for a date, but it seemed that no matter how badly I embarrassed them, they still treated me kindly. I admired them a lot.

I especially looked up to my older sister Lynette. I started second grade when she entered college. We both had a love for music. She was majoring in music composition and spent many hours at the piano. When she practiced, I often sat on the couch next to the piano and listened to her play. I watched as her fingers glided over the keys and wondered if I would ever be able to play like that. I liked to think that by keeping her company, I was helping her out in some way.

One day as I listened to her practice, I noticed she was playing something new. “Hey, Lynette! That sounds like wind chimes!” I said.

She explained to me that she was composing a piece for her class. She then decided to name the song “Wind Chimes.” She even let me help her with it. She showed me which two notes to play on the organ pedals while she played the rest of the song on the piano. I tried in vain to keep the right rhythm, and she just smiled and said, “Try to keep it even, Rebecca.”

By then I was feeling pretty special. I couldn’t believe that she was letting me, a second grader, help her with her college homework.

A few days later Lynette told me that her composition had been graded. She said that “we” got an A! I was on cloud nine. I was happy for her, and at the same time I felt like a princess because she had let me be a part of it.

Now I’m a freshman in college and going through the struggles of being a music major myself. I even have some of the same teachers that she had. There are times when I have difficult questions, and I know just who to go to for help. Although Lynette is now married and lives miles away, I call her and she patiently explains the theory of music to me. For those few moments, it feels like we are once again a team. Nothing makes me happier than to be able to phone her again a few days later and say, “Hey, Lynette! We got another A!”

As the years come and go, I’ll always remember the time my big sister shared with me. She took the time to make me feel special—to let me know she cared. It’s a great lesson I learned about sisterhood.

[photo] Photography by Craig Dimond; “Wind Chimes,” © Lynette Garner, used by permission.