on sisterly love

For three weeks minus a weekend, my sister has cared for my every need, often without my asking.

She refills my coffee cup, water bottle and wine glass. She now expertly wheels me in and out of the house and knows just how to help me get in and out of the car. When I wake up feeling achy, she massages my shoulder and helps me stretch my glutes. Without complaint, she dumps the icky contents of my flushable port-a-potty, an improvement upon the bedside commode but still a piece of equipment that needs maintenance beyond my abilities.

For three weeks minus a weekend, she put on pause her own life in order to help me with mine. She took leave from work without pay. Left her girlfriend, dogs and routine to be my personal caretaker, home health aid, nurse, massage therapist, healer, shrink, chef, chauffeur, housekeeper, hairdresser, cheerleader, and more.

Living my life, she wakes the boys up and gets them off to school. Reminds them to brush their teeth. Washes their laundry even though they are fully capable of managing the chore. Feeds them. Ribs them. Loves them.

For three weeks minus a weekend, she has had coffee ready when I got out of bed. A master with eggs and whatever contents of the refrigerator need to be eaten, she prepares my breakfast. She composts and recycles without my having to ask. She washes and styles my hair, even giving me beachy waves one night, prompting Jack to give me the only hair compliment I’ve ever received from him.

For three weeks minus a weekend, we have laughed and cried together over insurance company ridiculousness, heart wrenching books, ugly sutures, crazy cat antics.

For three weeks minus a weekend, she has been my near constant companion. But for a lifetime, we have loved each other deeply, and I know she has not done a single thing for me during this time that I wouldn’t do for her.

My sister leaves me tomorrow, but I know in our hearts, despite the mileage, we won’t be far apart. Part of her lives in me and me in her.



birth control

When I was 15, I was present in the delivery room as my baby sister was born.

A nurse of Julia Child stature pressed on my mother’s belly in all sorts of uncomfortable looking ways because Meghann was face up instead of face down and this woman thought she could manually manipulate the already stubborn baby into facing the right direction. When that didn’t work, they pulled out this vacuum cleaner thing and attached it to her wee little skull to twist her into compliance. She was born with such a huge lump on one side of her head that she easily resembled the devil.

Talk about the best form of birth control ever. No high school boy stood a chance with me after I witnessed that 28 years ago today, when the world finally granted me a real life baby doll I could dress up to my heart’s content.

I was a sophomore when Meghann Channing burst so dramatically into my life. For my girlfriends and me, her arrival meant we had a new mascot. We brought her with us to school-sponsored events. We took her to the mall. She sometimes even came with me when I went to hang out with my friends. She did sit out my prom but later inherited my prom dress as a costume. She found it funny to call me “mommy” out in public just to see the reaction on the faces of passersby.

(I did not find that part of early sisterhood so amusing.)

She was only three years old when I left for college and was already a budding gymnast who later turned cheerleader. (Sorry, Mom, if that was my influence). From the beginning of her life, she’s had a heart of gold. There’s no man, woman, child or puppy dog whose aid Meghann won’t jump to provide. She gives a killer foot massage and is an expert cupcake baker. Perhaps because she’s the baby of the family, she relates to kids like nobody’s business. My boys and their cousins love Auntie Meghann.

And I love her too. I think we’ll keep her even though her entry into this world stunted my foray into teenage dating.

Happy birthday, baby sister! May you always be faced in the right direction.