Sisters…I’ve had them in my life for over fifty years.
Middle’ Sister was born on a snowy Christmas Eve morn while little brother and I searched Santa’s treasures under whiffs of a fat needled tree. Santa brought me a cherished doll that holiday. Perhaps it was something to love me. Soon Mama would be very busy with her own baby doll of new.
I remember hearing big tires drive-up on crushed pebbled stone. Sound my ears heard before the car engine stopped. Two heads peeked up and over the back of sofa springs to see out window panes in our itty-bitty house of asphalt shingled pink.
Through the front looking-glass, my budding brother and I saw Daddy-So-Young hurry to get out of our old weathered car. Running to the other side, he opened Mama’s door. Carefully, he lifted something from her arms. What could it be? Another gift for under the tree? Cradling a pink bundle of newness in his big strong arms, Daddy helped Mamma gingerly step out onto that same crushed stone. “Careful,” he said.
Inside our front door we gathered round our tiny living room. The special Christmas present sounded like a mewing kitten. Oh, how wonderful it would be! No, beneath the pink flannel blanket lay tiny lids with lashes so long. Creamy skin with yellow downy hair peeking out. Snowflakes fell while melodies of Christmas Carols drifted from an old radio. Little brother saddled-up his rocking horse while “Chatty Cathy” looked at me from under silver tinsel smelling like pine. I pulled on a white plastic “O” behind her head before carefully letting it go. “I love you,” she said, over and over and over again.
Six years later my youngest sister was born on a fresh spring afternoon. While laboring in the same hospital, my paternal grandfather lay dying of cancer a mere elevator button below. Push…push. Down, down. My father’s heart broke with grief. His own father’s life slipped away day by day. Push…push. Up, up. Ecstatic joy. God’s miracle bringing a very first cry of breath into this world. Tears down cheeks…. Why now God, why? The cycle of life.
It’s been many, many years since the three of us…. SISTERS…. have been able to get together…really together. As adults, we have always lived so far apart from one another. States apart. Finally it was time. An added plus was having my niece there to visit with us. She looks so much like her beautiful mother. Truly, they look more like sisters themselves than mother and daughter. Too, my brother-in-law was home as often as he could be. The perfect host. He cooked like a gourmet chef, drove us around like a limo-driver, and often laughed together with the rest of us.
It was the perfect time to relax, to talk and giggle from the deep of our bellies to the very tips of our toes. We cried until we hugged in our little group of three while telling secrets of long ago. Sometimes we bared our souls. No longer little girls or young mothers who had dragged children across floors from pant legs, after all these years we had finally grown-up.
Chronic Conditions was a distant topic during this visit. Various long-term illnesses have affected our families in one way or another throughout the years. We empathize with each other and are bonded by them in a way. Still, on this special visit, we got together without any specific plan or any list of things to do. From one day to the next, we saw the world anew.
Each morning before the sun rose over my sister’s fence, I swam in her aquamarine pool. The fresh cool water cleared the cobwebs from my mind while relaxing my body together with my spirit. In the evening, the three of us sat by the candlelit water, talking until wee, wee hours of the morning while drinking red wine. Afraid to go to bed, for fear we might miss something said!
Some days our merry group of three shopped in little boutiques for things we didn’t need but purchased ‘just because.’ We strolled along paths of Plano, Texas, stopping to taste the ice of gelato. There, we let it melt until it slid down the back of our throats to cool the bottoms of our toasted, dry bellies.
One late afternoon, we discovered a delightful sidewalk café where guitar music strummed behind the wafting scents of Spanish food. We ate a light appetizer while sipping the proprietor’s famous strawberry mojitos. Such a nice waiter we had together with excellent service. “Mariano” was his name, and I was proud to pronounce it like he did, with a roll of the tongue. Ma..r’….iano. No doubt, I repeated it more often than necessary. So lyrical was the sound of his name. Mariano.
My sisters and I had the most fun of all that afternoon. Sitting in the open air with a slight blowing breeze we said whatever came to mind, without a care in the world. We made patio friends with everyone! “Mariano…” Mariano….My youngest sister kept calling him “Mario.” Silly we were by then. I have to clarify by saying we are lightweights in the drinking department. Although I dare say we had a better time than anyone on that outdoor patio, we drank no more than two drinks apiece!
Today, I am back to refreshed reality, but closer to my two sisters than ever before. I can tell them anything. They are and always will be my very best friends. How I wish we lived closer to each other. Until then, more trips like the one above are promised to each other each and every year.