Saturday, November 01, 2008

Another Atypical Vacation – A Family Love Blog

Note: to my friend, Mary, who recently lost her mom and who understands "family" better than anyone I know.

“To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family grieves and joys. We live outside the touch of time.”

(Clara Ortega)

I have always wondered how I seem to my parents, now that I am 33. You always hear them say “Honey, you’ll always be my baby, no matter how old you’re going to be”. They still send me and my sister an e-card every Children’s Day, June 1st. But you don’t feel like “a baby”; you don’t feel like you need to be advised every time you go to bed to brush your teeth; you don’t feel like every time you make a boo-boo and overbuy you need to be reminded that life’s hard and your parents had it tough in their times and you should be more careful with money … Or do you?! You know that with their worry, you feel their love, so … don’t you?!

I felt the same thing with my sister these past two weeks I have had her with me. And what a privilege and honor that she could come and share her time, and her family with me! I know for those of you with no siblings out there, this is science fiction talk, but those of you with brothers and sisters, you’ll know what I mean…

My sister is my reality gauge! She’s the one that always holds that crystal clear mirror in front of my eyes and lets me see myself for who I am: selfish at times, generous at others, mouthy and big-headed, a bitch at other times, of course, soft and even childish at others – whatever the mood of the day, if I am too wrapped up in myself, she’s there to define it for me. It’s so refreshing, because it’s an experience I never get to live when she’s not around – and I miss it so! And as someone once said: “she makes sure my head stays the right size” - It’s an approval/ or disapproval vote everyone needs to check with once in a while – and it’s as objective as it’ll ever be, because it’s unbiased: whatever she says, or does, she knows I’ll always love her! No boyfriend or husband I have ever had has given me that. No other kind of love. It’s an unique and loving comfort to just ... be

Also, with her around, I never ever censure myself! You always have to be on your best behavior when around strangers, of course, but not around your sister… Freedom is the key word in that environment! You put too little onion in your grape leaves? You are OCD about having counters clean? About cleaning after your guests even when tired as a dog? You are annoyed by cheesiness? You hate cartoon-and-people movies? Or have no patience for movies at all? You hate chocolate and love bacon? – you can admit that to your sister: she’s known that all her life, and takes it as matter-of-fact as you, without a slight bit of judgment.

We talked about how much we love each other, and how much we know about each other that no one else knows. How much I know about her, as a “problem child” ( I say and she's proud of), how much she hates me for my being the “goody two shoes” that she has to live up to; how much love and approval I know she needs, and no one else seems to notice; how much we see of each other in her newborn.

We wondered again, about our likes and dislikes and how different we are: she – likes chocolate, sweets, dark beer, red wine and 80 degrees on the thermostat; I like vanilla, puke at the thought of anything sweet, I like white, sweet wine and Miller High Life, and get sick to my stomach if the thermostat is beyond 72! She leaves things scattered around the house, sweaters, blankies, empty bottles and dirty glasses, I religiously put everything in place, or else I cannot fall asleep at night. We laughed, and wondered how in the world we ended up so different – growing up in the same house?! We hugged a lot. And we kissed. And we heard each other’s blood, the same and ever so different, flowing through our veins.

But we both have the same memories, always true, about growing up, and about what we remember about dad and mom, and Maia, and how close and lovingly we grew up. There is that thread there, which is timeless and bloody, that will always remind us of who we are, and where we come from, and we both share it, just like Siamese twins a common organ without which they cannot live!

A lot of people think having relatives in town for more than 2 days is draining. I had her, her husband and her new baby for two weeks and it seemed like too short of a weekend, and I am already missing them … I hope they enjoyed my moody self half as much as I enjoyed them!

My sister and I were enclosed in this timeless bubble where we relived everything from our very early childhoods where nannies would abuse us or treat us to movies and grannies would spoil us to our first alcohol abuse and defiance of dad. "The Man". It was a short lived and emotionally packed time. And you know what they say about time when you’re having fun …

To me, who has no family close by, this was, in a selfish way, the best spent time of the year! I reminded myself of who I am, one thing that I often forget to check into, as we all do, being too busy with “life” (we call it), I rested (thank GOD for not logging into work every day), I looked my future in the eye, through my wonderful brand new nephew , and I felt more love that I have felt in a whole year. All in two weeks. In love with life, and love itself, and what’s important in the world: family, good, healthy relationships, and truth, always truth. I cannot ask for more. Oh, but yes, I might: I might ask for them to come back and meet me soon!

We had our chats, and our laughs, and our happy and sad tears, too … but through it all, I’ll have to say, this is the best spent vacation in a while. She said we should “see something new next time, like a new state, or go shop in NYC or something” (she loves shopping, I hate it with a passion!!), but I said: “whatever, I just want to see you – and that’s present and new enough” … We’ll see where “next time” will find us …. But for now, I agree with Dr. Joyce Brothers, wherever she may be now, that said: “when you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.” And I thank The Spheres for my recent two weeks of that kind of happiness!

I don’t care how many pots of food I need to slave over, or however many milk bottles we need to wash for the babies, I don’t care how much she tells me not to put her sweater on a hanger at the end of the day , or however many times she frowns at me telling her she eats too damn much … or how much her empty bottles are in my way on the counter . I don't care how much she tells me I am too stuck-up and too conservative, or that I need to let go of being too anal. I know there is not ill intention it any of it. I want to feel that love, that common organ pulsating between us, as often and for as long as I can – always … every chance I get!

And more than anything, the world seems clearer around her. I have made some decisions about my life that I would have never made without her showing me who I am really am, and what I really want in life. I need the crystal clear mirror and the objectiveness. To say that's "priceless" would be the understatement of the year!

Thank you for coming, sister – love! And no matter where we live, physically, emotionally we’re always just a sigh away…

For the pics from my "sis adventures", visit this album - and thank you to my brother in law, for letting me share her, and the baby and for contributing to the pictures with his talent:

1 comment:

Andreea said...

That was so touching sis! And the feeling is mutual, I'm on a diet right now and I clean the house all the time! Love you!