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Three Sisters

November 3, 2017

Three sisters, and vermouth – the same but different.

I have two sisters.  A lot of people don’t have any sisters, or siblings at all.  Families come in all shapes and configurations and sisters don’t necessarily have to be a part of that, or siblings of any kind come to that.  But, already, I digress.  I have two sisters.  And a sister from another family who is a very different sort of sister.  And friends who are like sisters, except that presumably not all sisters are the same so who knows if they are like that kind of sister or is they are just that kind of friend.

Anyway.   Due to the way my family is shaped, and because of its migration to Scotland from Yorkshire in 1974 which led to me going away to school, and of course our age differences,  I never really had the growing up with a sister thing, the shared clothes, the vileness/adoration back and forth, the shared boyfriends and makeup.  Although I do remember being mean to to Emma when she was about eight because she borrowed my yellow, imitation patent leather sling back platform shoes and trampled them through the mud and dust of the Scottish earth around our caravan.  Yes, I really spent money on those.

Things I do remember of living with my sisters are of my elder sister, Sue, simply being there, serious, helpful and kind, slightly distant, and then going away to boarding school.  Oh the glamour of it, the grown-upness of it.  Her room was left immaculate, with her giant rag dolls on the bed, with their eyelashes made of lace – the only immaculate room in the house.  She had a Venetian glass necklace, of tiny birds and flowers on her dressing table, that I would look at, hold and want with every fibre of my being.  And then the next thing I knew she was engaged, wearing a silver lurex mini dress to her party at the same time as our mother went into labour with my little sister, Emma.

We were still in Yorkshire then and Emma was brought home in a snowy white shawl, soft as a lamb.  Us older ones were ushered in to greet her on return from school, Nurse Thompson, the district nurse, standing over us to make sure we didn’t break her.  She was tiny, pink and sweet.  She stayed that way for many years, until finally her little dimpled knuckles filled out and her hands became capable and strong.

Sue and Emma book end the family.  They seem to have had different lives to the rest of us, again due to circumstance and age gaps more than anything intentional.  One day I will gather their memories and line them up along side mine – I expect they won’t match at all.  I was very much part of the rough and tumble of the boy’s lives, wearing their hand me downs as well as my girl cousin’s hand made smocks from Harrods.  I felt more of sister to them growing up.  Phil, Luke and me – we were the little ones.  We had supper together made by Eileen, our ‘Mother’s help’.  She wasn’t a very good cook.  The older ones had supper with our parents, proper, grown up food.  I don’t actually know what they ate but I know it wasn’t mince in gravy browning with lumpy mash.  We were a team of three who would fight constantly and messily.  But still, a team.  I was the only girl in that team.

3 sisters.png

Emma, Sue, me – taken at a particularly poignant time.

But now the value I place on my relationship with my sisters cannot be measured.  We meet up, the three of us, at least once a year.  We usually plan something like a spa day with champagne and caviar vol-au-vents, but as the day approaches we hone it to a more manageable event.  It doesn’t really matter what we do because it’s just about being together.  The talk never stops, the constant flow of mutual support, more often than not one of us will cry, coo over each other’s achievements, children, new carpet, whatever.  We commiserate with the failures, the sadnesses, the shock of a disease or tricky life turn, and the gradual creep of age which, outrageously, is even beginning to show, just a tiny bit, on Emma.

I am a very lucky person.  I have some fabulous friends, a family I adore, a son who is a source of wonder and love, a husband who puts up with me and has my undying love.

I am aware that these posts of mine weave crazily through self loathing, self congratulating, counting blessings, fury at the world, soppy ones, heart felt and meandering ones, no real rhyme or reason to them, and there’s no special reason why I thought about my sisters today today, apart from someone posted this song on face book as a tribute to his sisters.  (Please listen).  But if you read these, and you know me at all, then you know this is kind of how my mind works.  I would apologise except I don’t want to – you can always stop reading.  My sisters are little bits of magic of my life, sparkly and special – I love them.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 4, 2017 9:09 am

    A little Chekhov from my darlin’. But no one dreaming of Moscow, thank God. A beautiful tribute to two lovely women.

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