Saturday, January 18, 2014
My sister and I talked on the phone for nearly 2 hours yesterday. I now get a cheap rate to Ireland of 5c a minute on my mobile. Ridiculous really. I love talking with my sister. My only sister who is nearly 14 years younger than me.
I'd given up hoping for one when all those boys started to arrive in our house. So had my mother. So had my father. When she was born somewhere around midnight on March 1st 195*, my taciturn father, a man who showed very little emotion and only cried once in my presence, burst into my bedroom in the small hours of the morning and could not contain himself: "It's a girl, it's a girl!" I didn't believe him. I had to see her.
And she was beautiful. I couldn't get over her. My mother (who was ill for a long time afterwards) and I mothered her. And dressed her in gorgeous clothes. I would knit her little jackets and Mum would make her dresses and we would clap our hands and exclaim to each other how simply lovely she was, how clever, how her blonde curly hair went to her waist in such a way Shirley Temple should be worried. I would take her in to high school with me and show her off. And yes, everyone was envious. They still remember it.
To this day, my sister never has had self-esteem problems and is a fabulous mother to 4 herself. When I think happy homes I think: my sister's place. She and her husband live in a very old house in Cork, one with rambling halls and back kitchens and an old conservatory and a big kitchen where everyone helps to cook and dance to silly music when they're doing it. She never stands on ceremony and I've seen her huge old table in the kitchen have two circles of chairs around it, the more agile eating on their laps and everyone talking at once. She has that way about her.
The sweetest thing among very many sweet things she says to me: "Your room is always here, WWW. Your room here has your name on the door. Always."
And one of the best things? Grandgirl and her friend are staying with my sister for a while this summer as they backpack Europe.
I get such a ridiculous charge out of calling my young sister "Great-Aunt."