May I tell you a little bit about my sister? She's on my mind today. She, her wonderful husband, and her beautiful four little girls, will be coming to visit on Sunday, and they will stay for Christmas and the New Year. It's going to be chaos, and I am BEYOND excited!
If you know Abby, you really can't help but love her. She is generously friendly, and always interested--interested in people, places, progress.
This may not sound like a really great compliment, but--she is useful. I like to refer to her as a researcher. If I call her and say, "Abby, such-and-such happened and I'm wondering what could be the reason", she is Googling in no time, or drawing upon her pre-existing wealth of knowledge, hammering out an answer, sometimes long after I've given up.
Abby is also an incredibly good listener. When she listens, you can feel that she is patient and will allow you to emote until you are blue in the face. Then she is first, compassionate. Second, practical. And third, determined. So that whatever issue you were venting about has suddenly become not an issue, but a plan of action.
When we are together, we lift each other up. Our more-mundane mothering duties become less burdensome. We are joyful in our labors. We laugh until we cry. Or we cry until we laugh. :)
Abby is resistant when people call her Superwoman, which happens quite often. (You'd call her that if you knew her, too...) She feels that it conveys some idea of being unattainable or above the rest, and she doesn't care for that at all. But when I call her Superwoman, what I am really thinking is that she stretches. When she doesn't want to, she does it anyway. When she is tired, she keeps going. Despite the fact that she already has four little souls depending upon her for their health and happiness, she stretches, so as to gather more into her large circle. (At this point, I'm thinking perhaps I should call her Elastigirl?)
She walks to the library, to the post office, to the park--with her four girls, who she home-schools. When people stare at her stupidly because she has two babies in a double stroller, one held close to her in a baby carrier and one walking alongside, she smiles and stares right back, happy and unabashed.
She sits in the doorway of her daughters' bedroom each night to read to them and sing to them as they drift off. At first they are restless, but she is still, and then they are asleep.
Although Abby is my older sister, she is vulnerable enough (and humble enough) that she will call me and cry if she needs to. And because I learned it from her, I can listen and help her come up with a plan of action that will dry her tears and help her be hopeful again.
Abby played the soundtrack of my formative years. When I was 5 and she was 8, she sat at the piano, practicing primary songs while I laid under the piano bench, staring at her calves and picking on her; she played on, unperturbed. When I was 10 and she was 13, she played romantic songs that I could sing to--songs that made me dream and feel grown-up and beautiful. (Les Mis, anyone? Phantom of the Opera?) And tested me on my knowledge of TV show intro songs. (I was good, really good.) And when I was 15 and she was 18, she played Gershwin and Debussy and Chopin in the livingroom while I laid on the couch, listening, crying and daydreaming and finally letting go. When I listen to the music she played during all my growing-up years, I can see her playing, and she isn't far away.
Abby, whatever drove me to write this particular post today, as unrefined and unedited as the writing is, I just want you to know that I love you--and how I love you.
(The woman herself...)Her beautiful work:
(As my grandma would say, "You do good work, honey....")
And her biggest fan, this man