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.