Sissies

Years ago, my friend and I started this saying between the two of us – Are you in your spot? Generally, our given spots were the kitchen sink in those days, which pretty much sums up why we spent so much time laughing about what might appear to be a lame joke.

These days, our spots have widened – portable now, thanks to MacBooks.

My younger daughter’s spot in those days was with her sister. Even as an infant, strapped on my chest, her little brown eyes always tracked to her sibling. When she was two, her older sister toted her on her back. Like anyone else, they bicker; they fight. Sometimes they make each other cry. But when the teenager’s now-ex-boyfriend said they spent too much time together, the teenager said simply, We’re sisters. I consider this an incredible stroke of good luck, an amelioration of some of my parenting mishaps.

I remembered all this today when I read this sweet children’s book, The Big Wet Balloon, about the complexity of sisterhood, even as very young children.

I want to thank
my sister for loving me, which taught me
to love. I’m not sure what she loved in me,
besides my love for her—maybe
that I was a copy of her, half-size—
then three-quarters, then size. In the snapshots, you see her
keeping an eye on me, I was a little wild
and I said silly things, and she would laugh her serious
laugh. My sister knew things,
sometimes she knew everything,
as if she’d been born knowing….

From Sharon Olds’ “Ode to My Sister”

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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