Darkness surrounds our little yellow house on the hill early this morning. The generator hums at 5 a.m. April 16t.h in Vermont. Heavy wet snow steadily falls. The trees are burdened by the weight. The sky no longer cobalt blue but instead shades of gray. The mountains barely in view. Encased in white. A convergence of the seasons. Winter tightly holding on before completely relinquishing to the new hopeful season of spring.
My sister’s birthday is today. We haven’t seen each other since Christmas Eve 2019 at my daughter’s home. Seems improbable as we have never gone this long without seeing one another. Even when I lived in London, we saw each other more frequently. The pandemic is to blame. Visits have had to have been temporarily halted. There is also an expanse of miles between us. I live furthest north and she farthest south. The distance is in miles only as we talk with the frequency of two sisters that once shared a childhood bedroom. Nightly chatting from one twin bed to the other until sleep quieted our voices. For years we shared a small room and an even smaller closet at our parent’s modest ranch house in a rural small town in southeastern Massachusetts. I can still hear the sound of our bureau drawer opening and closing as she quietly and carefully got ready for high school each morning. Family dinners where she inevitably spilled milk. While it seemed like each evening it was probably only a few times in actuality. The memory too delicious to scrutinize. Family lore. Our family joined together around a rock maple kitchen table with chairs that squeaked. The heart and soul of our daily life. A tablecloth covered crevice that was created by the space between an extended leaf and the table was the culprit. The wobble of a full glass of milk was doomed and the source of many a spill. A playful memory with her name on it, forever.
She is the oldest of we three. The first born and the wisest, our brother tucked in the middle and I the defiant baby. We are quite predictably birth order standard issue and delightfully so. She has shiny straight hair. I my father’s crazy hair. She has the most beautiful expressive dark brown eyes while mine are somewhere between brown and hazel. She dresses exquisitely and I embrace the art of the rumple.
A sister is both your mirror and your opposite. Elizabeth Fishel
We share more likeness than not. We enjoy all conversations from politics to fashion trends. A good shopping trip followed by lunch is cherished. We share thoughts and ideas as we browse the racks and sink into uninterrupted conversation while we enjoy a meal together. Sisters. We consult one another. We run ideas by each other. A trusted friend. Sisters.
The many holidays and special occasions spent together as a family. Handed down recipes and favorites on each holiday table. We have cherished each other’s children as our own. Watching our small family expand with weddings and births. Championing each other’s successes and simply always being there for one another. We have also shared our deepest losses together. The far too soon loss of our mom was quickly followed by our dad’s passing. As siblings we became the glue. Never a word spoken but we understood the importance of each other. Sisters.
As I look out my studio window, I am made aware of the strain even a mighty evergreen is enduring today. It is no wonder that the small birch trees employ my house for support this morning. We all have occasion when the weight we are carrying is too great and I am grateful to have often found my sister’s shoulder a safe, loving and trusted resting spot. Sisters.
A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life. Isadora James
Happy Birthday Sista! xo