A week or so ago, I ambled through a lovely antique store in SW Florida. Everything was organized and displayed with genuine care, not at all jumbled and random as many such places can be. It felt like the shop owner had bestowed a kind of gentle honor on all these vestiges of other people’s lives.
I was drawn to a basket of old pictures and postcards. It was enchanting . . . but a little sad. These precious (at one time) family mementos were now items of little value beyond curiosity and a bit of speculation.
Postcards from the early 1900s conveyed greetings from far flung destinations like New York City, Sweden, and Holland (not the one in Michigan) to loved ones back home in small towns . . . news of stagecoaches, difficult people, and homesickness all written in careful script.
One dear lady worried in her postcard about three one dollar bills she had misplaced before she left and gave instructions for what to do with the money if it was found.
Long forgotten people from generations past looked back at me, some in awkward poses, some appearing miserably sad, some wrapped in loving embraces. There was even the random shot of a cow – possibly someone’s prized heifer, groomed as if on its way to a county fair.
Sisters. What a unique relationship.
Though I am the oldest by a little over a year (just ask her), my only sister and I have always been mistaken for twins. We live hundreds of miles apart now as adults, but even now when we’re together, we quickly find ourselves responding to questions in unison (my brother says it’s like stereo) and sharing opinions on important topics.
I used to say my mother was the one person in the world who loved my daughter as much as I did. After she died, I felt bereft and impoverished at the loss of that love. But I now know my sister is that person, too. She loves my daughter as though she were her own and has walked alongside me through all the stages of parenthood: the joys, the heartbreaks, the hopes, the fears. She understands my “mama tears” and cries at goodbye just like I do. She knows me better than anyone and still loves me.
There is no one I trust more readily, no one I run to more quickly, no one I confide in more completely than my sister. I shared my childhood with her. I’ve shared deep grief with her. I will always share my daughter with her.
A simple stroll through an antique store and I was awash in all of that.
So no, technically this is not a picture of my sister and me. But in a way, it kind of is.
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