In the kitchen

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

sisterly love

I regret to inform you (and my photo albums) that I failed to take any meaningful family pictures of Thanksgiving this year.  I blame it on the fact that I was helping get the meal on the table (and nursing my sad heart because Sandi was spending such a special day at work, away from us) AND trying to keep Maya's teeth away from my nephew Braeden's skin.  I failed.  Eight times.

There is a lot that I love about Thanksgiving.  I mean how can you not LOVE a holiday with its heart firmly grounded in the kitchen?  The bubbling pots on the stove, the smooth table clothes, the extra tables set up to accommodate the umpteen dishes there to make your palate feel like its on steroids...add to that kids running joyfully under foot (and sometimes with big fat tears because one had bitten the other- EIGHT TIMES), a true sense of family, a good old fashion dance party (my family has one nearly every time we get together now), and my sister's and my annual tradition:  THE MAKING OF THE POT PIES.

 We believe the tradition stems from Sandi's mom Patti and now we do it with a seriousness and fervor that might become irritating to others.  But can we help it if we watch how many scoops of mashed potato people take and glare a bit at them if they are impinging on the amount needed for the pies?

Every year Kathryn gets the pie crusts and I bring some pie plates.  She gets extra everything - stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, etc- and then after dinner, we set to work.  I am not ashamed to admit that I think is our favorite part of the day. We made 6 this year- two for her, two for us, and two to give away.  And I put puffed pastry on the top of mine this year which was delectable.

But pie making holds only a limited amount of fun (because it is fun, trust me).  The real fun is what is between my sister and I.

Allow me to back up for a moment. 

Everyone who has a sister they are close to they will get this.  My sister is one of the biggest gifts of my life.  Her presence in my life means that I survived the murky waters of our childhood,  that certain things about me make sense when she is around or on the other end of the phone, that there is someone who loves me in the most unconditional way I know- absent of judgement or expectation.  Four years older than me, my sister Kathryn was the moon and the stars when I was little.  I copied her hairstyle (god help us both), and bought the same EXACT long red sweatshirt dress (yes, sweatshirt), secured a belt around my waist and donned red pumps to match her (even though when she looked at me in disgust I said, "WHAT!  I certainly didn't copy you!"  while in reality I looked like her stunt double.)  I used to squint my eyes like hers when looking at things far away.  She actually needed glasses and I just wanted to be her.

When I was eleven she sat me down seriously and said:  "If you have any questions about sex ask me.  Don't ask mom.  She will just tell you not to do it."

After she moved out, an event that nearly destroyed me, she would come back and spend the night and we would curl into one bed and whisper and giggle late into the night.  Once, as we were punchy and tired, she said, "What time is it?" I answered, "3:16" (am) and she said, "What? No, I said I love you."  I heard her wrong but from then on we would say to each other, "I love you 3:16."

When I was seventeen I was very sick in the hospital having just been diagnosed with Type I diabetes (on New Year's Eve thank you very much) and my mother had gone out for supper and I lay in a pitch black hospital room feeling horrendous.  Suddenly the door cracked open and light poured into the darkness and all I could hear was my sister's tentative voice, "Suzanne?"  She had dropped everything and come to be with me and I knew then that everything would be okay.

Six years ago when Ella was born, Kathryn was by my side for nearly the entire 3 hours it took to push Ella out.  The only time she left was when the nurse made her go take a break, smelling salts and orange juice in hand, because she showed the classic signs of pre-fainting. The story goes that she then staggered down the hallway toward the waiting room and collapsed in a chair halfway, causing serious alarm in the rest of the family awaiting the baby news.

She has held my hand, cheered me on, boosted me up, reminded me of my own strengths and abilities when I failed to recall them and lent me hers when I couldn't find them.  She is my friend, my confidant, my fellow adventurer.  Three hours is never too far a drive to the beach, the kiddie rollar coaster will always be fun and laughing over our common humor will never tire.  She is the one I worry about, am proud of, would fight on her behalf.  She is my sister.

Or as Maya says, "She is my thister."

Lucky me.


Christine Nichols said...

So glad you guys have one another. Great post.

Katie said...

What a wonderful post about your sister. So nice! It makes me miss my sisters!

p.s. as a consumer of a piece of one of those pies, all I can say is - OMG, SO YUMMY! (Mkay agrees, too!)

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