Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Sister...My Friend

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When I was twenty, our mother announced she was expecting a baby. My brother Martin, three years older than me and living on his own, was as surprised as I was by this news. In her forty-second year, Mum seemed to us decidedly middle-aged. She smoked to excess, loved her nip of rye, and played bingo four nights a week to get out of the house. In the colourful sixties, while I sported mini skirts and disco boots, Mum wore prim wool suits with stockings to work, and still pined for the extended family we’d left behind in Ireland. It was almost impossible for us to picture her pregnant.
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Ours had rarely been a happy home. My parents fought loudly and often, alternately going weeks at a time when they would not speak to each other at all. Timid and amenable, I was groomed early as the go-between. “Tell you father he can get his own dinner tonight” was a common message I got to relay, being then expected to carry back his profane response, rephrased in words I was allowed to use. Alone in Canada without family or support system, the four of us stumbled in chaos through the years, each hurting in ways large and small, yet knowing no other way of life.
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The birth of my sweet and lovely sister changed the family dynamic forever. Joyous event that this was, it could not, of course, fix our life of discord. With time, the rift between our parents became irreparable. When Nikki was four, Dad moved out of town, Mum became seriously ill, and Nikki came home with my husband and I. She was to stay on with us until she was finished school and ready to tackle life on her own terms. With my first child only three weeks old, I became the instant mother of two.
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I loved my new sister from the moment I set eyes on her tiny face. Folding her into our little family when my parents could no longer raise her was the natural thing for us to do, and something we have never regretted for a minute. In the years that followed, there were both good times and bad, but I may leave that story for another day.
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Suffice it to say, we sisters have been many things to each other over four decades, and I am most pleased to say that we are friends. For my birthday this year, she bought me the little figurine pictured above. It is by artist Susan Lordi, and is titled ‘Happiness’. The descriptive blurb about it reads, ‘FREE to sing, laugh, dance…create!’ Nikki said that as soon as she saw it, she knew it was meant for me!
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I adore the little figurine with her arms spread wide open to the world, but even more, I’m touched that my sister ‘gets’ me, as I ‘get’ her. We are sisters and friends…lucky to be alive on this beautiful earth, and even luckier to be sharing it with each other.
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I love you, Nik…
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5 comments:

The Littlest Thistle said...

What a lovely gift, and obviously well deserved

Catherine said...

Such a beautiful post ~ so much love. The wooden angels are beautiful aren't they? I have the 'remembrance' one that I was given when my father passed away. I cherish it.

Have a lovely day Lynette!
(And Happy Birthday!)
Catherine

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Sister relationships are always special but yours is even more so. Beautiful story!

Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

Oh..wonderful post and wonderful photo!

Netty said...

Thank you for sharing this. Annette x