Love u @ 5:40 am

Ding-ding. The pinging of my cell phone awoke me this morning at 5:40 am. It was a text message from my sister.

"Love u."

I stood there in the early morning darkness, the house quiet and still and I felt my throat closing in on itself.

My sister, my best friend, my confidante, the sense to my sensibility, was on an airplane ready to leave L.A. and fly to Illinois. She's moving there and not coming back. It's a good move for her and her family, but it still feels so, so wrong. I began crying for like the 80th time this week, the tears blurring my sight as I text'd her back.

It's been a tough week. Morning sickness kicked in full force. I spent most of last week in bed or in the bathroom. And it was my sister's last week in California.

Her two little words: "Love u," spoke volumes. For a girl who, when we were kids, drew strict lines in the bed and forbade me to cuddle, hug, or even touch-her-or-else!, just getting a declaration of love out of her is epic. Sometimes, I'd accuse her of having no feelings. Really, it was just because I could rarely govern my own.

Where I was overly critical, she was compassionate. Where I was stingy, she was generous. Where I burned bridges, she never repaid evil, even to those who treated her unkindly. She valued peace above being right and was often the one who apologized first.

"It's always better to take the humble route, Loll," she would say to me. Whenever she called me "Loll" I knew she was being affectionate. It was when she called me "Elizabeth," that I knew I was in trouble.

I could always make her laugh. When she was sick as a kid, I would make up funny songs and stories and go dancing around the room impersonating various people we knew. She would laugh and laugh and then ask me to do it again. I always would.

Sure, we irritated each other, argued and tattled to mom like all kids do. But we always made up. Always. We never, ever, ever let a disagreement, grievance or a difference come between us.

Which is why, even with thousands of miles separating us, I know nothing can ever really come between us.

And eventhough love never fails, The Mateo's heart may do just that once he sees my cell phone bill. Anyone got extra minutes they wanna donate? ;-)