Two sets of sisters. Me and mine, my daughter and hers. This post is her (daughter) and hers (her sister). Another to follow about me and my sister.
We went on a very cold, kind of dreary day, to another city, about an hour away to see my daughter’s sister. Two weeks ago tomorrow this was. Sister and her mom (a single mommy) life about three hours away, but the grandmother of my daughter’s sister, a grandmother called by the Yiddish name, like my mother is called– Bubbe lives in the city an hour away and we agreed to meet there.
We were all nervous and filled with different emotions, but at the same time we all– my daughter included, I think– felt a little bit like old hands at this. We’ve known her brother and his two moms for almost four whole years now. It’s an interesting set of things you become expert at if you have a family by adoption. The occasion was no less profound, no less heart-stopping, no less scary or beautiful or amazing by virtue of our experience. But it wasn’t quite brand-new unknown, mouth-hanging- open, tremblingly new. It was a familiar kind of heart-stopping if that makes any sense. On the way in the car, there was some kind of fighting and upset about what time we left, when we should have left, whose fault it was but I cannot remember it now. Happily it passed.
What have I said, not said? This sister of hers is a sister. She is Jewish, like my daughter. She is Latina, brown skinned, dark eyed and gorgeous– like my daughter. They look– not exactly alike, but like family, like sisters. We got a little twisted around heading to the specific meeting place and called the mom several times on the cell phone. She was warm and reassuring and we relaxed a little bit. We drove to the supermarket parking lot where we agreed to meet. When we finally got out of the car and spotted them and began to walk toward them, younger sister was holding her mom’s hand tightly and jumping. Jumping up and down. Jumping. My daughter was suddenly the 11 year old who was thrilled, and touched, but doesn’t jump up and down. She chuckled. She laughed (not at, but in pleasure) and gathered her small gifts in hand and sprinted ahead of me. And they met.
I am not going to tell the whole story of the day, but it was a good day. A good day. Not good, like in, “have a good day.” But good like in the Torah, good like in biblical references. “And then G-d did such and such. And it was it was good. ” I loved the mom again, as I had when we met almost exactly two months earlier. I loved the Bubbe and they both loved my big girl, which is always a big hit with me. And N. and her little sister, they bonded. They did things together, they hung out, they talked though I don’t know exactly about what. There were wonderful things that happened and normal things, like the tuna fish salad and green salad and challah dinner that was delicious and familiar and that we ate at Bubbe’s table all together.
But one of my favorite moments was this. A moment that made me laugh inside and out because there is something about the spirit, the temperament of these two girls that is so similar– down to the expression of it.
N’s younger sister had just gotten– and the girls decided to watch– her new Curious George DVD. My daughter who will watch a lot of DVD recordings of tv shows almost anytime she is given the chance, has grown a little old for Curious George. But sister, at age 8 is not too old for it. They watched episode after episode after episode. I worked at the dining room table drafting clues then walked throughout the apartment and building– to create a scavenger hunt for them, that would take them out into the halls, the elevator, the lobby of the apartment building. I wanted them away from the tv, in league with one another, whispering, conspiring, laughing, moving around. My daughter, who can take a lot of tv, was about spent, but patient– wanting to be with her sister.
Finally, at the end of one episode, I intervened. “How about you both pause it now and do the scavenger hunt? Then you can watch the rest of the episodes later.” Without missing a beat sister said brightly, “the pause button is broken, we can’t stop it!” and that was that– she plopped herself down and my daughter gave me a look like “what’s an older sister to do?” sighed and in her generous, good-natured way, sat down to watch the rest of the Curious George dvd. Then later, eventually, the scavenger hunt ensued. They ran around, flushed, laughing, with the modern day twist of hiding but calling on a cell phone, and had a great time. That was their/ our beginning. I look forward to more of the spirit, the warmth, the stubborn singleminded- ness and humor of this new girl in our lives and to seeing the two girls and their brother too– grow and play and and scheme and laugh and occasionally cry, together.