Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Sisters, Sisters, There Were Never More Devoted Sisters...."

We became parents for the first time on a frigid mid-March New York City afternoon. Suddenly, our lives were joyfully transformed forever, with a lovely rose-mouthed little girl. The following March, almost a year later, we brought another beautiful daughter home--making us the proud parents of Irish twins (defined as two children being born within the span of a year to some lucky parents). Annalise came home from the hospital on Sarah's first birthday. Yep, they are 363 days apart! Sarah, the older one, would not walk for a few more months. Sure, it was a staggering immersion of babies, but we loved it, and we felt abundantly blessed. Therefore, the second week of March has always been a hailed time of great joy at our house. Usually it stretched out for several weeks--just to make sure "the sisters" were sufficiently celebrated.

Our first Christmas with our Irish twins.
On a Vermont autumn day.... My arms were really strong!

I distinctly remember, as I pushed them in a stroller around New York City, Beijing, and Los Angeles (where we lived) as young girls, yearning that those two little bundles would someday be companionable--even hoping for a wonderful sisterhood between them. Occasionally, people would scold or stare at me for having them so close together, but I continued with my heart-felt wish. I hoped their constant proximity with one other would bring mutual comfort and support to them. Of course, I knew there would undoubtedly be misunderstandings and tangled dreams, but I cherished the idea that they would be loyal, loving friends. Now after 20+ years, it is satisfying to see them play music, share favorite authors, hike, bike, and cook together. But most of all, they have smoothed life for one another, making the other more happy and fulfilled.

A very happy dad for a Valentine's Day dance!

This was the era when the "Sisters" song began to be performed. In one of the many bedrooms that they shared throughout the years....

When we were living in Baltimore for a few years  (when they were about 6 and 7), they saw White Christmas with Rosemary Clooney and Vera Allen singing 'Sisters' for the first time. Well, they were enthralled,  absolutely mesmerized. A tradition and always go-to talent emerged. They even carried fans to wave around with matching dresses a few times. Through the years, they sang it at many gatherings, talent shows, family reunions, etc. It was always something they could pull out of their pocket, and everyone would chuckle and laugh--whatever version or costumes they appeared in. As they got older, the requests did not stop. Ha! Maybe singing those lyrics about "Sisters, sisters, there were never any more devoted sisters" created bonds I never would have understood at the time because they sang it so often.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG7x8HWbDzU

Now my desire has changed for them: with these bonds of sisterhood, I hope they will reach out, embracing and encircling those who don't have a sister in their midst--or maybe never had one in the first place. When I see them including, loving, embracing those around them who may not speak the same language or are different ages than themselves, my heart sings with happiness. The sisterhood that began chapters and songs ago, as they made sure the other had enough Easter eggs or hugging the other's tears away is now shared--with strangers and/or someone who needs some familial love. As I watch from afar or close up, I more fully understand this gift of sisterhood that I was so lucky to view all these years--with its many seasons and stages. I tell them it is now their turn to share their wonderful sisterhood with the world. 
"Helping one another is the religion of sisterhood."--Louisa May Alcott


Some of my favorite memories are when they play music together....


Graduating together from BYU... Happy Birthday week from across the world to my favorite daughters! Thanks for your legendary example of sisterhood-across all the years, miles, and stories.