My Sister

hand-painted silk, 1987

My sister has style.

She didn’t always, mind you..

It happened when she and my brother-in-law moved to Dallas.

She knew that in order for her to be at all visible as a woman in that scary town she must up her grooming ante. And she did that. In spades.

She never went whole hog into the big hair-obsessive presentation thing.

But she took what was best and left the rest

Which revealed her own style in the classiest of ways.

Her birthday is today.

I wanted to give her something to tell her I love her.

Because we are ‘sans-mother’, we have both stepped in to make sure a high level of recognition is passed between us centered on the celebration of beauty and class and sass on birthdays and holidays.

She knows me well; meaning liking some parts and trying to lend a blind eye to the rest..

As we grow older the edgy parts of our sisterhood fade to grey and something surprisingly beautiful, comforting and real shows it’s face.

She nurtures.

I mean, REALLY nurtures.

She is a knock-em-dead (?) gourmet cook for starters. Beyond this it is her family and the core of goodness she has concocted by mothering her kids the way she has and tending her marriage with whatever it is that has the two of them still in love, respectful and having fun together which I admire.

We are different seeds from the same plant. She: watchful, reserved, action-oriented, adept in most realms I am not. It used to be an irritant but now has become an inspiration. Where she is measured, I often fly without my ruler. I learn from her. And she from me.

My sister has gifted me in this past year with the kind of support and love which takes a heart, wraps it in the finest gold and furs and ribbon and leaves it to rest in the sudden softness and security of what was before a very deep wintry chill.

And so.. on this, the anniversary of your birth, I give you, my sister this gift of love…

The recognition that for me, you are:

a woman of style and substance
pretty good cook
wicked sense of humor
amazing mother and partner
generatrix (?)
sensitive to nuance

I am so sorry for the times I have hurt you or disappointed you or caused you sadness or confusion.

I can not wish those experiences away for they were each a part of getting me here..

Here, as I stand leaning into my ‘good’ leg and feeling the miracle of your support which eases my willful and often weary stride,

I thank you.

With love,



5 Responses to “My Sister”

  1. Muff on March 9th, 2012

    What a loving tribute! I’ll bet your sister is thrilled with this!!

  2. gerry harty on March 9th, 2012

    Simply beautiful!…2 very lucky sisters!

  3. laura Hegfield on March 10th, 2012

    How completely beautiful. I feel the same about my two sisters…and my SIL who really isn’t any more…she’s pure sister after 25 years.

    I’m sorry I’ve not been around in a while Cathy…you are never far from my thoughts dear one. may you forever be blessed with nurturing loving beings in your life…but sisters. sisters are REALLY special. at least they can be. we are fortunate to have wonderful ones.

  4. Elisa on March 12th, 2012

    How beautfull Cath !!!

  5. Dennis Chamberlain on July 26th, 2016

    I read this with amazement and wonder. How lucky both of you are!

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