Star light, star bright,
first star I see tonight,
I wish I may,
I wish I might
have this wish
I wish tonight
I repeated the childhood poem on myriad starlit nights and finished with: "I wish for a baby sister." God would hear I told myself, for wasn't a wish like mine the same as a prayer? Perhaps God heard, but He chose to answer in a slightly different manner. When I neared four, He sent me a baby brother. At age eight, another brother joined our household. Even so, I continued to watch for the first star of the evening and repeated my wish. No baby sister arrived. When I'd nearly given up, my parents informed me there was to be another baby.
My heart soared with hope. Finally, my baby sister would be a reality. It didn’t matter that I would be sixteen when she made her appearance. All through the months of waiting, I watched for the first evening star and repeated the same words "I wish for a baby sister." She'd make her appearance in May, which pleased me for it was also my birth month. In May, trees blossomed and grass showed a new spring green coat, the sun warmed us, and gentle rains urged tulips from their winter's sleep, the perfect time for my longtime wish to come true.
Dad called from the hospital to tell me that our new brother had arrived. Brother? My heart nearly broke. Three strikes and you're out--baseball or baby sisters; same difference. Though disappointed, I soon adored my third brother. I accepted the fact that I'd never have a sister. I even stopped repeating my wish whenever I spied the first evening star.
I loved my three brothers, but something seemed to be missing in my otherwise full life. Girlfriends held special places in my heart throughout high school, college, and newlywed years. But I still felt incomplete in some way. When I heard other women mention their sisters, a little pang rose within me. It couldn't be called jealousy. No, it was more a pang of envy. I chastised myself for feeling this way when I had a wonderful daughter and, as time went on, three beautiful granddaughters.
Once my children were independent, I pursued a life-long wish to write. Many of my stories found a home at an inspirational e-zine. Fan mail arrived from readers.
Another writer wrote often to comment on my stories. It was a mutual admiration society, as I loved the folksy humor she injected in her stories, the way she taught life's lessons with amazing tales, and the manner in which she used words and phrases. Pictures of her appeared in the e-zine, and I admired the sparkle in her eye and the broad smile she had. Our e-mails became more frequent. She lived on a mountaintop, raising donkeys and loving her family. I lived in a university town with neighbors nearby and no pets but also loving my family. Kathe often mentioned another writer who was also a marvelous editor.
Before long, the three of us were good buddies.
In time, our three-way friendship grew strong. In an e-mail, Kathe said she had something serious to discuss, something for me to ponder upon. Would I consider being her sister since she'd never had one? I knew this was no joke, and I sat in front of my computer feeling stunned. A lump rose in my throat and tears threatened. Pleasure warmed me from head to toe as my childhood wish was granted in my sixth decade of life. But this would be no baby sister, because Kathe was seven years older than I. After all the years of waiting, I wasn't about to quibble. My fingers flew over the keyboard as I wrote a glowing acceptance.
Not long after, she wrote to ask what I'd think about asking that sweet Maria to be our younger sister. And so it came to be that we three are sisters of the heart. Kathe is the eldest, I am the middle sister, and Maria is our baby sister. Is it only coincidence that she is the same age as my youngest brother? The messages fly between us. We edit one another's stories before they are sent to an editor. We rejoice when they sell, and we commiserate when they don't. We bare our souls to one another.
I had the great good fortune to finally meet my older sister in the flesh, since my husband and I traveled through her state The long hug we gave one another sealed our sisterly bond forever. We talked nonstop for two days, the way sisters do. Late on the second afternoon, a phone call from Maria brought more chatter between the three of us. How wonderful if Maria might have joined us on top of Kathe's mountain.
One day, we three sisters of the heart will find ourselves together in a place where we can give hugs whenever we like. Meanwhile, the messages fly through cyberspace. Each one is filled with the love only a sister can pass along to another sister. Now, when I see the first evening star, I repeat the little poem to myself and just smile. My sisters were worth the wait.
This story was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Sisters II
Nancy Julien Kopp draws from her growing-up years in Chicago and many more in the Flint Hills of Kansas for essays, stories, poems, and articles. Her work is in eleven Chicken Soup for the Soul books, three Guideposts anthologies, magazines, newspapers, and ezines. A former teacher, she still enjoys teaching through the written word. She blogs about her writing world at: