I watched my sister walk across an icy runway to board the plane that would fly she and her husband to Anchorage for their connecting flight home to Seattle and felt tears well up in my eyes.
My sister Linda and I spent many years "not getting along". I was convinced that we were too different to be close - an idea that my mother had planted in my brain - and while my mother was alive the three of us formed a triangle. Never a good shape for relationships.
We've worked hard on getting to know each other since my mother died. We've been honest with each other and dismantled old barriers, healing old wounds in the process. Today I realized how important that work was. As I watched her walk away, I said to a stranger standing next to me, "I hate to see them leave."
When Linda and Art realized that my husband and I wanted to fly to their house for Thanksgiving but couldn't because of my husband's work schedule, they arranged to fly up to our house. They arrived on Tuesday, two of four suitcases full of fresh fruits and vegetables (we don't have great produce up here during the winter months). Art cooked the entire Thanksgiving dinner while Linda and I talked. The following day he cooked a roast. I didn't have to make one meal, not one.
On Thanksgiving night we planned to join our cousin Georgia and her family for dessert. I was in the bathroom checking on my appearance prior to leaving for Georgia's house, and grabbed what I assumed was my purple can of hair spray from under the sink. I shut my eyes and sprayed around the crown of my head when suddenly I realized that the hairspray was unusually heavy and smelled different in a very bad way. Opening my eyes, I saw that I had purple foam all over my head. I had sprayed my hair with Kaboom - a very effective bathroom cleaner. Turns out Kaboom is also useful if you want to strip color from your hair. I suspect it is also an easy way to have your hair break off at the roots, however, I managed to dive under a faucet quickly after recognizing my error to prevent that from happening. We laughed about this on our drive to my cousin's house where I shared it with our extended family. That lead to a roundtable discussion of "the most embarrassing thing I've ever done". More laughter.
Last night we watched "Home for the Holidays" and marveled at the dysfunction portrayed by a group of truly fine actors. We watch it every year that we're together on either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Our family used to be like that. Every holiday was ripe with tension, hurt feelings, and fear that someone would upset our mother. Our holidays aren't like that anymore.
I love my sister. She's smart and funny and creative. So am I. I love her husband, too. He's smart and loving and humble and he loves to cook and has taught me how a man is supposed to behave. I am so lucky to have them in my life. I don't know what I would do without them. When the hell did that happen?
I hate to see them leave.