Those who know and love me are fully aware of my little jaunt over to the left coast last week. It seems that my folks felt I didn’t get enough golf over the holidays and needed to come out for one more week before the new semester.
During the holiday season, traditions abound. Families will gather by the hearth. Some eat a big goose. Others indulge in an appetite inducing tramp through a nearby wooded area. More than a few will hoof it to the local mall to return those gifts that missed the mark. Recently, I heard of one that requires the involvement of a ceramic dolphin. As for my family, we are devoid of the routines that mar the yuletide, and happily so.
Those are the words to the week that preface a wedding. There were menu cards, bridesmaids, florists, photographers, party favors, moving, and so many more of those last minute things even the most organized gal must endure before the blessed event. As the only sister to an archetypical bride-to-be, I wore a big target across my back and said to myself, “just take it.”
Just take it. The short statements. Just take it. The pointed glares. Just take it. The frustration at Tropical Storm Ernesto.
Yarg. The marginal utility of my mantra was rapidly diminishing. I have seen it before, and experienced the backlash from an angry bride towards a maid possessing even a hint of defiance. So like the dutiful handmaiden, I smiled happily, swallowed my comments and pride, and contented myself to quiet muttering, private sighs, furtive eye-rolls, and whispered phone conversations to my best friend. I held my tongue when necessary, gave hugs when beseeched, and walked away when baited. And the wedding came.
An early morning filled with hair related trauma and in-law related drama had left my sister in a nauseated condition. By the time she arrived at the changing room, she was in a state. There was only one solution. Room service, a sentry at the door, and a bit of music from a very mellow playlist.
For the first time in a long time, it was just the two of us. Quiet, reflexive, and content. Finally at peace with all of the preparations, knowing that whatever happened would be out of her hands, my sister and I savored that short, private moment. There were no parents, no bridesmaids, no new family. All of the stress of the past week fell away. We poured each other some juice. We talked about nonsense, gossiped about the in-laws, and laughed a little. It was good.
Sisters are funny that way. When sisters fight, or argue, or just can’t handle being around each other, they could talk the issue to death, discuss feelings, emotions, and hurt, and just drive home all of the disquiet in their hearts with the express goal of emotional manipulation. Or they could pour each other a glass of juice and let it go away forever.
We ate our scrambled eggs, and giggled excitedly about the fantastic day ahead. We talked about her new husband-to-be the workings of his gentlemanly, though slightly punch-drunk, demeanor. We could have talked for hours. Alas, our reverie was broken by the flood of maids, mothers, florists, planners, and photographers. Reality floodied back in full force. And so, my sister climbed into her dress, took a deep breath, and walked happily to her future.
It was a beautiful ceremony. It was full of all of the love and tears that one could only dream. The torrential downpour that dashed hopes of a garden wedding did little to dampen the mood. Rather, it created an atmosphere that could only be brought to life by a Bronte, or maybe a bad fanfic writer.
Honestly, I have never been in a room filled with so much love. The love of, for, and between this couple was radiating through the entire room. The officiate cried, and distant family wept in gladness. With all this, my sister and new brother-in-law would begin their new family
For the first time in my life, I was filled with a complete and selfless happiness. Wow.
I love it when my family comes to town, and it isn’t because they take me out to fantastic dinners, buy food for my anorexic refrigerator, and keep my closet filled with new coats. Well that might be part of it.
It is mostly because they have seen me at my best and worst, and are still there. I bring my parents pride, and they give me love. I give them grief, and they give me patience. I give them anxiety, and they give me support. I give them disappointment, and they give me hope. And then there is my sister.
Had we not been related, there is a good chance we would never have been friends. We are the opposite in every way. Sometimes, we disagree just because. My parents call us the sun and the moon. But then again, there are those many times where the two happily share the same sky, bringing delight to those who might witness the spectacle. As different as we might be, she is my favorite person in the world.
They were all in town this week. It was only for a few days, but it has been fantastic. They are ridiculous, fun, lazy, hungry, silly, and never bored. We spend quantity time in each others company, and are more than satisfied. They root through my cupboards like they own the place, and I couldn’t be happier. The only thing they seem to be apprehensive about is driving my car.
But then again, I really love my car.