February 14, 2012 § 6 Comments
I have a sister. Two, actually. The sister in question, Karen, called me last Monday.
“Ellen, we’re calling from Mom and Dad’s. No, don’t worry, nothing’s wrong with them. But since we’re so close, Chris and I thought we’d drop by for a visit.”
And by close, she means 4 hours.
“Um … uh … okay…?”
“If it’s not too much trouble of course. We’ll be there Wednesday.”
“Um … sure …” Really? Is she really asking to come visit? “Uh, yeah, that’s fine … um, you’ll get a hotel room, right? Our place is kinda small …”
“If you’ve got a spot on the living room floor, that’s fine with us – we won’t be a bother!”
Jennifer and I have lived here for eight years now. This would be the first time Karen and Chris came for a visit.
This would be the first time that any of my five siblings visited me in my adult life. And I’m 42.
I know this isn’t the norm. I know there are siblings that visit each other all the time, or at least as often as distance allows. The distance in my family is pretty expansive—and I’m not talking the distance you measure by miles. We’re not a close family, and to visit one another is just not and has never been expected.
That little girl is me. And the bride is my sister. I’m 3, and she’s a few days away from 20. When I think of my family, I think of this photo: Me, with a bag of rice, the others doing what they do, separately. In the distance.
My sister called and invited herself to sit on that step with me, a step I’ve been very comfortable occupying alone for 40 years. I’ve lived all sorts of lives there, none of it she knows, or any of the others really know. Sharing that spot on the steps seems so foreign.
Two days to prepare for the visit, but I really had much more time than that, didn’t I?