Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Well, as usual I'm musing and mulling. Just returned from a "Loved Ones" luncheon at boy's school. I'm always touched by the kids whose parents haven't shown up for the special plays, etc. Their eyes are always searching with hope, and then too often dim with disappointment. The boy was looking glum, but lit up like a candle when he spied us. We had a great lunch, his teacher joined us for a few minutes. Nice guy - ex Marine I hear.

Back to sisters - we had a step sister, Maxine, much older than us. I loved it when she and her husband came to our home for a visit.

For me, home was rather like an orphanage where I felt I wasn't worth anything unless I worked hard, cooked, and worked hard some more. Perhaps that contributed to my need to have an orderly, clean space to live in and my need to see family members doing something else besides lying in bed watching TV.

We always felt special when beautiful Maxine and her handsome husband were there. That's about the only time we felt special. Maxine died from emphysema in 2004. I wasn't able to be there, but my sister that visited me was. One time I went to visit sister in the Pacific Northwest. We drove over the mountains to see Maxine. We didn't tell her we were coming, because she always felt she had to have first class accommodations for guests. She was on oxygen then. When we walked in the door, she about fainted. She cried, she said she didn't think she would get to see me before she died. It was good.

My sister who visited - oh, we didn't get along too well when we were kids. I often considered her a pest. My mother worked evenings, so it seemed as if we were alone together most of the time. We fought. I chased her with her biggest fear - actual spider webs. We fought often. We had to fight in a sneaky manner because of a very, very strict stepdad. (He was sister's "real" dad so I felt she had special favors.) In reality, he had been in the service and ran the house as an army captain or whatever they are called would run his troops.

I had guilt for years because I didn't protect her from some traumatic events, but then after a while I realized I was a child and couldn't protect myself OR her.

After we had children and she had went through a terrible divorce (the first one) she came to stay with me in Iowa for about six weeks. I was a "back to the earth" person. The kids and I lived out of the garden. So we gardened, we partied some, we made all our Christmas presents, dozens of cookies, that year and had Christmas together. I cooked and cooked. I love to cook.

It was the time of our knitting of our hearts together. I found out she was stricter than I - I laughed when one of the little ones smeared herself in cold cream and we found her sitting in the middle of the bed looking at us through all the layers of cream with big blue eyes.

That's when we began talking into the night(s). We worked out a lot of our childhood problems - or at least identified them. We knew there was a lot of work ahead. For some reason none of us are born to perfect parents, or very few anyway.

So, we have developed a bond of closeness. I so wish we were closer geographically - but its those adorable grandbabies that keep us anchored in our places. We talked once of moving in together when we were old. Of growing apple trees and gardens. In a cabin on the magnificent Skagit River. We would wear blue jeans, rubber boots, and flannel shirts, fish, and rock in rockers on the porch in the twilight. I would have my cats and she her dogs. Then the sun would set.


tweetey30 said...

You know talking about kids and there parents. Kora had a concert at the end of this last year and a friend and neighbor of ours daughter was there. She was in second grade last year and she was the last grade to perform that afternoon. Well anyway her parents are drunks and I was sitting right up front because then Kora could see Brianna and I. Well this little girl kept looking for her mom and step dad and they never showed up. I felt so bad for her. She was in tears by the end of the concert and no one even asked her why. That was the sad part. I dont understand parents really. I am not perfect but I do try when the kids have special events going on at school when Kora was in school. LOL... Well anyway. I am glad to hear you can talk to your sister. It must have been rough growing up like you did.

Wandering Coyote said...

Lovely post, Gardenia...Funny how our siblings become "human" when we are all in adulthood. I found that with my brother, Rob. We had huge issues growing up, and it wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties that we actually started getting along, and when I moved from the west to the east, he was the person I missed the most. We are now pretty close, and I have the added bonus of being close to our youngest brother, Jem, too, which has been a real blessing.

Wandering Coyote said...

You might be interested in a book review done by sp over at the fall reading challenge blog. The book is called My Sister, Myself (or something like that). Sounds like something right up your alley.

Hattigrace said...

Paint that last paragraph. Would be beautiful.