Mysterious Memory

There’s six years between my daughters – a significant gap. When the littler one was two, she had a habit of raising her arms and saying, Uppy, to her sister. Naturally tall and strong, my older daughter was happy to tote her sister on her hip or back.

Both in adolescence now, those years narrow.

Late yesterday afternoon, while I’m laying phyllo with olive oil, spinach, and feta, my daughter returns from skiing, red-cheeked, happy. Since the morning, she’s braided her hair. She wears a red ski cap of her sister’s, a gift from friends whose son lives in Norway. Across her forehead is VITAL. I loved this cap on her sister, and I love it on this girl, too. VITAL. And again: vital.

Chattering, peeling a clementine, she tells me one of her coaches asked if she has a sister. My girls love this question. With so many years between them, their similar faces serve as reminders of each other – and the hat, now, too, I think.

It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats.

– Dylan Thomas, A Child’s Christmas in Wales


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