Sisters in the 70's - gold and green plaid sofa -

My Sister and I

We are different, my sister and I, but we’ve grown together over the years. It’s funny how time, space, and shared loss, and at one point or another, you find she has become essential. No longer the annoying hunk of flesh that your Mom’s loins disappointingly gave forth, but the voice on the end of the phone who knows all the essential details of your stories.

Of two sisters,
one is always the watcher, one the dancer.”

Louise Gluck

One Summer Day 2013
A Summer Day 2013 – my sister and neighbour out and about on the quad.

I remember once reading about this researcher, hidden away in the stall of a woman’s washroom, listening to two women in a heated discussion. She said by their tone, and something in the way they spoke to one another, she thought “they must be sisters”…and so they turned out to be. I wonder if this style or manner, comes from a shared nurturing, or maybe just the sharing of blood that bonds you? Yet, nurture versus nature, and all that Victorian clap-trap, won’t hold water here, I suppose – too limiting.

Sisters - my nieces October 10, 2004
Sisters – my nieces October 10, 2004

My nieces do NOT get along. They are often at odds with one another. Once when we were on the phone my sister’s like “HEY, girls, you might not believe this, but one day you two will realize you really love each other, atleast TRY to get along now“. She says back to me on the phone “they both just looked at me as if I were nuts“.

Sisterhood is of a higher order, and goes beyond labels and psychological theories. Blood and gravel roads, over distances great, or arguments that span decades, the bond remains steadfast. No other person alive or dead, can incite you as ones sibling can. No other can make you feel as small, or as large, as the one who was once your backseat sparring partner.

“YOU are on my side of the car”

…could spark chaos within the cramped domains of the backseat of our old silver Ford Fairmont Stationwagon. These tussles would be greeted with “get along girls…{waits a couple mile markers} GIRLS !!!! ENOUGH.” OR…sometimes just “ENOUGH !!!!“; depending on the severity of traffic on the I95, on our way down to North Carolina to visit Grandma & Grandpa N for Christmas.

Imagine, if you will, it is going to be our last trip down as a family, but we don’t of course know that at the time. That rotten sister o’mine and I have just spent a week together, and we were on our way back to Canada, and she started in, and ramped me up. I had been married (or maybe engaged) to my ex-husband not that long, I felt as though I was an adult. I was maybe 27, my sister is five years younger, and Mom was alive.

By the time we got to this McDonalds in Maryland, I was in tears…I was SOOOO angry at her. I couldn’t even today tell you why. No solid memory of why she had been so especially annoying, but I was about ready to kill her…and that pissed me off even more. I remember thinking “why do you HAVE to go out of your way to be soooooo very annoying“.

So, my sister and I did not always get along so well. Mom’s death changed all that. I don’t know if I can say EXACTLY what it was, but a couple of moments stand out.

Mother & Child
Reading sympathy cards, November 2001

One image I will always have of her…watching her with this 2 month infant in her arms, scared shitless, and her Mom’s laying in our livingroom, dying. We struggled, her and I during that time.

Both for our own reasons, but than one day, I needed her. I knew this one simple gesture was important, I asked her…”can you help me, we need to figure out how to get this diaper on Mom…and you have more experience than I”. That’s it. Things changed.

I don’t really know why. Not completely, not always, do we get along…but we now know we love each other deeply, and regardless of how different we are, we share a bond.

You recognize that this one person, this one soul, knows you like NO one else knows you. They know your stories, your failures (although sometimes your lists differ), your glories and, deep down, they know your history. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, despite of all that, they love you.

Thank you, Lil Sis :-)

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