I have five sisters. Our births were interspersed with the birth of our three brothers resulting in a generation gap of sorts. So there are three older and three younger. Stephanie is the youngest and I am the oldest. We are separated by twenty years. She calls me Alpha and I call her Omega. The other four just smile at us.
Last October the six of us took a trip. I live on the east coast and they’re all in California so it took some wrangling but we got it done. The first trip we’d organized was to happen in May of last year but was deeply disturbed by the death of our mother. My sister Shari had come to visit me before our “big trip” and three days before we were scheduled to get on the plane heading for Charleston, we got the call that Mom was stricken. We booked a flight out of Boston to go back and help, but as we boarded that plane our sister Wendy called to say Mom had died. Last Mother’s Day was filled with sorrow for her passing and joy in knowing she’s with the love of her life, Jesus.
By the time we finally took our big trip we were more than ready. Over the course of four perfect weather days we had long conversations that tackled the ills of the world, the complaints about husbands, the woes of weight loss and the possibility of seeing an alligator on the lawn outside our town house. We prayed for poor Liz who was suffering with a bad bout of vertigo. Right in the restaurant, The Pirate's House, we bowed our heads while Shari led us in a power prayer that shot straight through the roof and up to God. The waitress, Sybil, stood quietly with our baskets of hot fluffy biscuits and fried dill pickles until we said "Amen!" Those pickles were almost as good as the prayer.
The picture above is of Stephanie, me, and Pamela. They are twins, the eighth and ninth children of our parents. We’re sitting on a bench outside a small roadside (and truly authentic) market where we stopped for a potty break - and exquisite pumpkin fritters - on our way to Savannah.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that we’re that much closer for all we endured and enjoyed in 2011. I wrote this poem in tribute to them. If you have a sister perhaps you’ll find meaning in it also.
For My Sister
Sister, you always took my side
even when I was probably wrong because
something binds us that goes beyond what
may or may not be the truth.
I’ve counted on
your unqualified support in so many areas of my life,
for so many years of my life.
I look at old pictures and smile; then sadness rears,
because we haven’t become everything we always
said we wanted to be and do. Yet here we are still,
giggling, sighing and raging over all the
troubles and triumphs of our lives.
What would I ever do without you . . .