“She’s my sister, I love my sister.” Children of the 1990s may recognize that catchy hit as a classic tune from Barney and Friends, but to me, it means a little more.
On Nov. 2, 1989, I was blessed with a younger sister who would become my best friend. Mary Mullen (double name) is 18 months younger than me, and at first, I wasn’t so sure about this new baby taking over my crown as only child.
One day, when my mom was in the shower and my sister was in her infant seat, I took all of the shoes out of her closet and piled them on top of MM (don’t worry, she survived).
After that little incident, I realized this new girl was sticking around and I guess I decided to make the best of it.
Growing up, MM and I shared a room pretty much until I left for college at age 18. I think this is one thing that made us so close, although it did lead to quite a few fights. I believe at one point we even put masking tape on the floor so the other sister couldn’t come onto “my” side.
Sharing a room also had its privileges. We got our interior decorating start early, as our parents allowed us to pick the paint, decor and furniture in all our rooms. Looking back, some of those choices were cringe-worthy, but we always agreed on them.
Like the time we were in high school and decided we wanted to loft MM’s bed and buy plastic, inflatable furniture to create an ad-hoc “living room” underneath her bed. Although not super comfortable, the chairs lasted about until I left for Virginia Tech.
Two years later, Mary Mullen also made the journey to the land of the Hokies. We both ended up in the same sorority, but made sure that we had our independence through different majors, friend groups and activities.
Throughout college, we were there for each other as a shoulder to cry on or an encouraging word on a hard day. Mary Mullen and I experienced ups and downs during that time, but we always knew that our sister had our back no matter what.
After graduation, MM became the talk of the town when she landed one of the most interesting jobs around — fisheries scientist on a commercial fishing vessel off the coast of Alaska. She was gone for six months at a time, and our communication was limited to sporadic emails when the ship was in Wi-Fi range.
While waiting for her flight home after one of those long trips, she met a fellow fisheries data collector who would become her fiancé.
MM and Rory got engaged earlier this year, and shortly after, she asked me to be her matron of honor. The past few months have been a blur of excitement as we celebrated during her mermaid-themed bachelorette and bridal shower, picked out her wedding dress and planned for the big day.
I feel honored to stand by my sister’s side as she marries the love of her life.
She has stood by me in all of my darkest and brightest days, and I am truly grateful to have her as my soul sister.
While I don’t know what lies on the roads ahead in our lives, I feel sure I will have Mary Mullen as a pillar of support no matter what happens.
As the words of our “sister song” by Del Amtri say, “So if you want to talk the night through guess who will be there … the right time, to roll to me.”