For My Sisters
I just returned from a ten day trip to New York and Philadelphia. The main purpose of the trip was to attend my best friend's wedding in Philly, but, being from the New York area (Long Island, more accurately) I spent some time visiting my family.
Now, there's a reason why I live in Alaska and my family is back in New York. Don't get me wrong, I love them with all my heart, but there's also a lot of drama I'm not sorry to be missing. I'm also happier raising my kids in a less intense location, and that has nothing to do with my relatives.
While in NY, I stayed in my mother's place. She bought a house with my sister and brother-in-law a couple of years ago, so I got to see them a lot too. Which is great. I also saw my brothers and their families, which is also great. Mom and Sis had the week off, so we went out shopping, did lunch, got my hair done for the wedding, all sorts of fun things. I know it was a special time, not the day-to-day stuff we all go through. Spirits were high and the love was flowing. But it made me realize how much I miss having them around. My mother and sister share things I will never be part of as long as I live where I am.
"Let's get lunch!"
"Hey, can you watch the dogs/cats while I'm gone for the day?"
"How about roast beef for Sunday dinner rather than ham?"
Despite the frustrations of living near family, I miss them terribly. My kids don't have the opportunity to get to know their grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins like I did. Yes, I chose to move to Alaska, but that doesn't mean it's not without its shortcomings. Distance from family, mine and my husband's, is one of those shortcomings we've learned to deal with.
I particularly miss my sister. We weren't close as kids, running with two very different crowds, but now that we're adults we have a lot more in common. I want to share more daily things with her. I want to go shopping, ask her opinion on my hair and clothes (OK, maybe not). I want our families to get together for holidays, summer barbeques and Sunday football. I want my sister more than once a year, maybe, or as a voice across the continent.
Sis, brother-in-law, and mom drove me to Philly, so our good-bye was not the teary-eyed airport event it could have been. Sad, yes, but we held together.
But I realized something over the next few days of wedding preparation with my friend: I was in the same situation with her as I am with my blood sister.
Sharron and I met in college in Fairbanks and became fast friends. For the last twenty-five years, we've managed to see each other almost yearly, talk on the phone just about weekly, and share parts of our lives like sisters. I cried with her when relationships went to hell and rejoiced when love was found. It was an honor to be in her wedding, as I was in my sister's.
Hanging out with my friend was similar to being in NY, not typical day-to-day stuff, but I still wanted to share that with her. I want to catch a movie or do lunch. I want to have her and her new husband over for dinner or for game night. I want my sister-from-another-mother.
Another friend was in for the wedding as well, and the three of us spent a day running around shopping, laughing, and making each others' sides ache. Again, not the daily angst of work and family, but I could see us helping each other through tough times and rejoicing in the good times.
Some of my sisters I only know through email or Twitter or Facebook. Some I may have met only once or twice. But it's there, that spark of recognition that we understand each other, that we can depend on one another to lend an ear, a shoulder, a hand.
Sisters share a special bond. These women are my sisters as much as my blood sister. I want them in my life. I want them with me through all the highs and lows. The distance makes it difficult, but the love makes it bearable.
Labels: on my mind