That is plural little sisters. I only have one although I AM one, too. So, I guess that plural is okay, huh?
Today is my little sister’s birthday. I was 2-1/2 when she was born so most of the history of her birth is apocrypha mixed with possible personal memories.
I don’t remember having a pregnant mother, but I do remember a time when a babysitter came to our house even though my mother was there. Our mother was just shy of 40 when MA was born and had developed some heart troubles. So, we had a woman who came and helped with kids and house during the last few months.
I don’t remember being bundled up and carried to a neighbor’s house when my mom went into labor. I do remember waking in a strange bed with my older sister and being forced to eat lumpy oatmeal over my sister’s protests that we didn’t eat oatmeal at our house.
I also remember our dad driving up and my sister racing ahead of me to find out if we had a new baby. I can recall the racing ahead part because my big sister was a mother hen and usually clasped my hand so I wouldn’t get lost in 2 year old ambling. It was unusual for me to walk alone.
At the hospital, my dad lifted us up so we could see the new baby…another girl to the Coleman home.
Then, there’s a kaleidoscope of memory as my grandparents came and whisked us away so our parents could assimilate MA into our home without interuption.
We were raised to be one another’s best friends. That isn’t unusual, I’ve found, in households like ours. It worked. We counted on one another as kids and young adults. Less dependence as we have grown older, but still I count my sisters as an important part of my emergency response team.
I am especially grateful for this little sister of mine. She has a compassionate heart and a forgiving nature. She has the ability to play the piano and sing with perfect pitch. A talent, I might add, which has caused pinch bruises on my arms due to my creative pitch. (“You are hurting my ears! Stop singing!!”)
Today, she’s battling depression. It’s an old foe that retreated for a time and has come back with a vengeance in these past few weeks. I can hear the desperate sadness in her voice and the exhaustion in her husband’s pleading to her to just come to bed. I can read the exasperation in her daughter’s texts as she asks when enough is enough. And I know from experience that this can be a battle to the death.
Her voice sounded better this morning when I called at 6 a.m. to wish her a happy birthday. But her depression has a way of gaining weight as the day progresses.
I know that all the love in the world, all the laughter in her home, all the beautiful gifts that could be given and all the cakes that might be baked will not lighten that load. But I wish.
I wish that she would be free today to celebrate, to remember how important she is to us, to know that there is nothing in this world that can diminish her. See the beautiful smile in this picture? I wish you would be able to feel it down to your toes!
Happy birthday, MA! Happy or not, you are truly loved.