Posts tagged ‘sister’

No Matter Which Way You Slice It

It really is still a nine-hour drive from Portland to Missoula. It seems that driving during the night doesn’t change that fact. Although, we were able to effect a change in the incessant discontented moaning from the toddler. She whimpered in her car-seat shaped sleep instead. On that front we were successful. With three slumbering girls tangled in the back seat Nathan and I finished several conversations, munched on trail mix, and zoned out, which proved to be a refreshing shift from the constant snack fetching, squabble settling, and nursing gymnastics of the previous trip. Now, the three hours of sleep I got upon returning home? Not so refreshing.

But we are home. And, the gods really are smiling on us. Clean sheets, a clean fridge, a clean house, more than one could ever wish for upon return. Either we picked a stellar house-sitter, we got a little help from sympathetic and awesome friends, or both. As soon as the sun rises a bit more I intend to find out.

The last portion of our trip included Pickathon, a music festival that stretches across a warm, sweet-smelling, gorgeous farm right outside of Portland. Emily traded several of her Filly dresses with the founders of the festival in exchange for a vendor booth and tickets for all. This meant that not only did we get to listen to music, gaze at Mount Hood in the distance, and people watch, we also had a home base in the heart of the action where we could help beautiful women try on clothes, cook a meal in our makeshift kitchen, and lounge with my sister. The girls were equally content. New friends, kid activities, favorite foods, caring adults always ready to grab a snack or wrestle, and the freedom to run wild, knowing they could always find their way back to the Filly booth.

I also have never seen dirtier children. At night we methodically wiped farm dirt from between fingers and toes, scrubbed watermelon juice from chins, and washed unknown sticky streaks from necks and forearms before unzipping the tent flap. Like dead weights they dropped into their sleeping bags, glow bracelets adorning far-flung arms, faces slack with exhaustion. Nathan and I stepped back into the musical dark each evening knowing that we’d stuffed enough fun into those skinny bodies to last them a lifetime.

And I am filled as well. There is such exquisite pleasure in the company of our friend-family. Our children are theirs, the closest they have to their own, and they treat them as befits that honor. They smile at their antics, know their personalities, and see their histories in each twist and twirl. And as the girls wove in and out among our sandaled legs we ate berries, drank tea, and laughed. We discussed topics that only friends of many years get to discuss in mixed company: sex, relationships, embarrassing moments, the past, the future, our dreams and concerns. I wore my sister’s shoes, and got to be next to her, to watch her face and delight in her crinkly smile.

Pulling away from the curb was tragic as always. They stood on the lawn, mustard yellow sweaters, red jeans, dusty blues and greys, a rainbow of everything good and sustaining. My sister’s face was puckered in that sad way that if we lingered, or said anything at all, would crumble into crocodile tears. My throat tightened around a yo-yo and we drove away.

I sure do love her.

I love them all, and I am grateful that we got that splendid summer week in their company.


August 10, 2010 at 9:33 am 2 comments

boo hoo

The little red car did eventually pull away from the curb. My sister left this morning, and I am sad. Not only is she my sister, not only do my girls adore her, but she is also a fantastic person. She is funny, strong, generous, thoughtful, independent, and interesting. I am a better person for spending time with her, and I know the same is true for these girls.

This photo is Emily receiving a massage from Echo and Xi after dinner. She had just finished regaling them with stories of yore, the time she broke her arm, and bust her front teeth, and saved a boy at the beach. They were riveted.

This morning when I said Emy was leaving the girls hardly took notice. In just a short week they had become accustomed to her comings and goings, out with the dogs in the morning for coffee, and again in the afternoon for yoga. They were so sure that she would return shortly that they casually waved as Em loaded herself with the detritus of departure. As an adult I was too aware of how long it might be until we saw her again, so I gave them a bit more information and they hopped up to smother her in a group hug.


After she pulled away I did the best I could to take care of myself by hosting play group. I moped while vacuuming up dog hair in preparation and then swung the door wide for mamas and kids. Surrounding myself with friends and scenes like this

helped take the edge off of my missing, but I still wish she lived here.

April 29, 2010 at 8:34 pm 1 comment

sad emily

I heard the phone ring and I just knew. It was bad news.

My sister Emily has a dog, Bello. You might as well call him an appendage he is so woven into the very fabric of her life, of her spirit. Bello was diagnosed with cancer today and given three months to live.


Bello is so great. There are dogs and then there are great dogs and Bello is one of those. Brown, loyal, sturdy, consistent, and devoted. They are never apart. He waits for her outside of any building she enters, sometimes for a long time. He accompanies her on every trip. He sleeps under the covers. In a crowded room he lays down and makes long steady eye contact with her.

He is her child and best friend rolled into one, and now she looks at him and can see the end of his life. She is living the day that she has always dreaded.

I am so sad. My sister crying can cause me to cry quicker than anything on the face of the earth, and tonight she is sobbing.

I am reminded, against my will, that the things you love, the very most of all, still leave you.

Oh life, so much to teach us about loving and letting go, and sometimes we do not want to be taught.

December 4, 2009 at 5:00 am 1 comment

empathy delivery


Welcome to the weekend friends.

My father and sister have gone and I am so sad. I kissed them goodbye and then sat down to write this as a way of soothing myself. By giving love and empathy to you, I also give it to myself. So here goes. I hereby present a beautiful bundle of empathy to any and all:

  • that long to be with a particular someone, or set of someones, every day, and due to distance, can not.
  • that have had a special week and are not looking forward to a “normal” day.
  • that feel tired.
  • that are cleaning up poop and pee several times a day as they potty train their child.
  • that are in tooth pain, having tooth worries, or facing impending, costly, dental work.
  • that are in store for a long day of travel.
  • that teach a class early on saturday mornings.
  • that live their life in relation to autism.
  • that ordered food at a restaurant and then later didn’t want that food, and their parents still wanted them to eat it.
  • that are allergic to dogs and even have to wear a ventilator to enjoy dinner parties at houses with dogs.
  • that are experiencing changes at their job.
  • that have a dog that is getting older and it’s starting to show.

I hope this helps.

November 6, 2009 at 5:02 am 4 comments

contentment is …

echo and em

  1. Hearing a bump and a clunk on the back porch and seeing my sister Emily walk through the back door.
  2. That happening enough days in a row that it feels like a regular occurrence.

November 5, 2009 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

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