TBT. Two years ago, mid-May. My family was preparing to leave for Vegas to celebrate my cousin's 40th birthday and I couldn't have been happier. I was looking forward to being somewhere crazy and fun with my crazy and fun sister. She doesn't like to fly, so sister-bonding vacations are rare.

As soon as I saw her, I know something was off. She was smiling but her voice was strained.

"I thought I had a stomach flu, but it turns out I'm pregnant!"

I wish I could say I handled it well, but I'd be lying.

I told Alexis that she was irresponsible. I yelled at her boyfriend.

I started crying hysterically and I couldn't stop. The core of me, which was already an open wound, had just been doused with acid.

(Liz Marsh)

As I sit here today, I have to dig to remember what was so upsetting. On one hand, I had just broken up with my boyfriend. I was feeling incredibly vulnerable. Every engagement, wedding and baby announcement during that time made me feel more isolated. Everyone around me, including my little sister, had figured out the life stuff — and I just couldn't make it work.

The deeper issue, of course, is that of sisterhood. The core of every fight my sister and I have ever had stems from the fear of losing the other. We experienced profound loss early in our lives, and our salvation was each other. We had years where we weren't close at all, but we always knew that we were each other's best ally. We never had to explain anything because we shared a biography.


Five minutes before my sister told me she was pregnant, I felt alone. I was sad about the breakup and I didn't know my place in the world. But my sister was never something I had ever questioned, she was just there walking through life next to me.

Then in the blink of an eye, our paths were separate and divergent. I wondered how we would ever again find common ground.

She, too, felt alone. She had been depending on me for support and I let her down.

Everyone who has ever had a baby in their lives knows how the story ends. Sweet Virginia has changed us all for the better. She is a piece of our little family puzzle that we didn't know we were missing.

I suspect Alexis and I will spend a lifetime figuring out how to be individuals and allies. I am constantly grateful that I get to learn from my sister as she walks down her separate, but parallel, path.

Read more Liz Marsh: coloradodaily.com/columnists.