Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister,
And lord help the sister who comes between me and my man.
Sisters ~ Irving Berlin from White Christmas
I've just spent two weeks with my sister Christine who arrived from Australia three weeks ago for a visit with family and friends. She's lived in Melbourne for ten years. Her last visit home was seven years ago when she had a six moth old baby girl and was suffering from serious sleep deprevation, and my boys were rambunctious 9 and 6 year olds. In the past seven years, much has happened in our lives. But most of all she's now the mother of a seven year old daughter, and I'm now the mother of two teenage boys. What that actually means is that in the seven years we've been apart we've become different women, different mothers.
It's taken the full two weeks of her staying with me for us to just start getting reacquainted with each other. I feel like we're just brushing the surface of the 'sisterly' stuff and now she has to get back on a plane with my sweet niece and head back down under. We haven't always had the easiest relationship. We fought as little girls over Barbies. She had the Barbie Bus...I didn't. She had cool jeans, I had overalls. We shared a purple bedroom as an homage to Donny Osmond and would chat, laugh, play silly games and listen to 1050 Chum until late into the night. After Donny became passé, we covered our walls with The Bay City Rollers. She went to see them in concert, I was too young. :(
We weren't particularly close as teens, five years age difference made that difficult (she's older), but she stepped up when my Mom was going through a rough time - she was 18 and a 13 year old was thrust upon her to try and mother literally out of the blue. She got through it, we both got through it. She always had a serious boyfriend, I didn't. She had a job at a boutique and drove a Honda Prelude. She was pretty and cool...I wasn't (but I eventually got there - the teen years were not good to me).
I got married first. She was my Pippa. I had a baby first. She kissed his face off and called him her little punim. I got pregnant again and she held up my left leg while my husband was stuck in the airport in Vancouver. She kept me and the nurses at Women's College Hospital laughing for the whole ten minute delivery. Yep, ten minutes. That quick delivery was enough to make her want her own baby. But as we all know, they're not all quick deliveries. She had her own baby girl in Melbourne and gave her the middle name Victoria. We saw my Dad alive for the last time together. In a moment of clarity before his death he told us to "go have fun." Guess what Dad? We have been!
I took her to the nursing home to see our Mom last week. Our Mom has dementia and didn't recognize my sister, and she hasn't recognized me for at least a year, but we were there, possibly for the last time together.
Today she gets on a plane and flies back OZ. Good, bad. Up, down. Love, hate. Birth, death. We've gone through it all. We're sisters...and that's just what sister's do.
P.S. I bet she combed my hair into that terrible centre part on purpose. Clearly I was not happy!