The first thing Phyllis said when she found out I was moving was, "Wow, you're really going to miss your sisters." I actually couldn't even fathom life away from my two sisters and my mom, I certainly couldn't write about it, and the thought as I crossed the continent in our plane brought an ache to my chest so deep that it felt like my heart had fallen right out. My mother is also the oldest of three girls and her relationships with my aunts are perplexing to me at times. I can only look to my own sister relationships for reference, there I find a bond so mysterious and confounding that despite our differences we are compelled to keep working out our connection and place in each other's lives.
My Mom, Proud Big Sis
And I guess they've been on my mind a lot lately as I've watched Amelia get a sister, become a sister. Lucy isn't even that interactive yet, but every time she wakes up Amelia runs whooping through our home as excited as if she were heralding the Savior's birth. They lay together on my bed sometimes, Amelia serenading Lucy with love songs of her own authorship as she traces the baby's features with her small fingers. I often wonder if my sisters know they were the objects of such delight, that in so many ways they still are. It's kind of like when you become a parent and you begin to understand, probably as well as you ever will, the way your parents cherished and delighted in you and then wish your kids wouldn't have to wait so long to 'get it'.
Amelia with newborn Lucy Aunt M. helps me with sister, K.
Amelia put in her "girl baby" request early and often after we told her about our coming arrival. Even though we didn't find out the gender before Lucy's birth, anytime someone in public would ask, Amelia would confidently answer, "I'm having a sister!" I really hoped for a sister for her because of all mine have meant to me.
Yesterday one of my projects was sorting through my keepsake boxes from my college years--a strange mix of loving correspondence and old Bursar bills. I kept finding notes from my sisters and pictures of their high school years, for which I was this distant presence. Their letters and notes and pictures crafted connection to their worlds one little stitch at a time. I have records of first boyfriends, volleyball news and my favorites have to be these great polaroids of both of them against the backdrop of our parent's unfinished basement in their basketball uniforms, gripping a basketball and giving me their most ferocious game faces. Where's a scanner when you need one?
This song is one of our favorites to sing together when we're feeling particularly silly. It's from the classic movie, White Christmas, and I'm posting it today for my sisters. It takes a large commitment to stay connected for a lifetime, and their commitment to me is nothing less than, well, ferocious.
(All pictures compliments of Grandpa J.)
There were never such devoted sisters
Never had to have a chaperone "No, sir"
I'm there to keep my eye on her
Every little thing that we are wearing
When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome
She wore the dress and I stayed home
All kinds of weather
We stick together
The same in the rain or sun
Two diff'rent faces
But in tight places
We think and we act as one
Know that not a thing could come between us
Many men have tried to split us up but no one can
Lord help the mister
Who comes between me and my sister
And Lord help the sister
Who comes between me and my man