I remember not understanding my sisters, not getting along with them, and at times being in awe of them. I look back over the many years at how our relationships have changed, and then look at how the relationships are changing right now.
In my memory there is a clear moment of transition in the relationship with my youngest sister. There was a day when she was hurting and I did the only thing I really knew how to do. I wrote a letter and slipped it under her door. It seems, looking back in time, that the letter, the moment of putting something into words, was the moment we became friends. The letters became like a diary between us, a way to talk without speaking, and a way that then led to spoken words. I can’t imagine life without her.
I remember the awe I felt at the next sister. She talked back to mom and dad! She stood up for herself! She did what she wanted rather than what was expected of her! She was free and wild and mother earth and all the things I dreamed of being. And yes, somewhere along the line, I pushed her up onto a pedestal where she still remains.
She used to ask me to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with her. It’s the one thing I feel I failed my sister at. So many excuses. Life. No gear. No money for gear. Not physically in shape. Fear. I dreamed of doing that hike, and still do, even though the impossibility of it looms large over the dream. But somewhere in an alternate universe we are moving through the solitude of the mountains together.
The oldest sister was more like a mother-figure. She was the one we woke up in the middle of the night, knocking on her door because we were barfing or had a bloody nose or a nightmare. It’s hard to say this, but after many years of health battles, her time with us is shortening. During the coming days she will be moved from a hospital to a nursing home, which feels like a strange letting-go without loss. A sign, a symbol, an arrow hanging ragged and broken, pointing to what is to come.
So I look at the sisters around me, at how they move through their lives. And I see these two friends of mine who are young and strong and beautiful and far from the ending of times. And I see how brilliant they are to prioritize their relationship, to make sure they have a Sister Day.
Why did we never have Sister Days? Why did we never carve out a time when the four of us managed to get together? Kids and finances and distance and commitments were so important then. But now?
What do you think when you picture a Sister Day? Some would think of spa days with pedicures and hair and manicures. Some would think of shopping and movies and a meal out.
All of the photos on this page are taken by my young friend on her Sister Days. They head out into a world few see. They go where there are no trails. They move through forest and mountains fearless, and I want to be them. I want to be young and with my sisters with the sky over us and the earth beneath our fingers.
I want to listen to the youngest worry about spiders and dirt in her bedroll.
I want to feast on breakfasts made by the next sister, on her oatmeal and dried fruit, or her buckwheat pancakes.
I want the oldest healthy and her spirit free, riding the wind, circling us and watching over us.
I want a Sister Day.
6 thoughts on “A Sister Day”
This is so beautiful and absolutely broke my heart. I often yearn for more of a family connection but my sister is my everything and I can’t imagine life without her.
Glad you have her in your life.
Thank you so much for this. By the end I was crying so hard I could barley read it lol. My sister and I have been close only a couple of times in our lives. We are living in different seasons right now and I feel like she’s just too busy for anything but her family. She’s 8 years younger than I am and this has caused some big gaps in our sister friendship. Maybe one day we can be close again. She’s all I have left for close family after my Mom passed.
It can be so hard when you are caught up in your daily life. Maybe try a letter! Seriously though, I hope that day comes for you. I do think as we get older we change our priorities.
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From the earliest days of our friendship I have always loved to hear you talk about your sisters, I could picture each clearly before I met any of them.
And PCT…there is a whole trail and there are bites, and there is the inspiration of Granny Gatewood to remind that it’s possible to do pretty wild things no matter what age.
And those wild free sisters in the post, they are pretty dang amazing, in their unique lives as well as in there relationship with each other.
I count you as one of my wild and free sisters.