Little Sister ~Big Heart
On a brisk Christmas Eve morning in a well-known desert town of California, two sisters meet for the first time. An old Polaroid brings back to life an event that forever changed my life. My dad captured us with the same affection in our almost matching green eyes looking back at the man that brought us together.
Thoughts go back to my own childhood. I was alone…a lot. I talked and listened to adult women reminisce about their many operations and childbirth experiences. Their stories reverberated through my head, too young to process it all~growing up sounded terrifying. I did have school mates and neighborhood friends, but once home in my quiet castle, I soon became the voracious reader child with the adult vocabulary. I drew Archie comic figures late at night that I devoured during the day. I played piano and danced around the house, choreographing Fred Astaire spins through the large kitchen floor, leaping over chairs. I never remember missing having a sibling. I was usually too consumed with Dobie Gillis, Mad Magazine and other cultural pastimes that were too old for me. I loved solitude mostly. If you don’t know what you are missing.
But then came the day I put on a crushed velveteen red dress that my mom had made (of course). I pinned on a small Christmas sleigh to add dressiness.
I had mastered the perfect flip aka: That Girl. I was 15.
I have vague memories of feeling nervous and a little confused, excited; the gambit. My dad had a baby now? Wasn’t he too old? ( smile ). He picked me up and drove us just a few blocks away where his new family lived. There was his new wife, smiling as I walked up, holding the front door open. Her warmth completely overcame all my apprehension.
I was directed to a seat at the dining room table which would become for me as I would visit over the years, the hub of family life at their house – warm, solitaire playing, lots of laughter and the smell of fresh brewed coffee.
Before I knew it, a tiny blonde curly haired 2 year old jumped in my lap with a big grin. I could see her face and chin fit mine. Her mouth looked just like my dad’s baby pictures. Her lighter than my green eyes stared up at me; she chitter-chatted and squirmed. She was definitely not the shy child I had been~ there were other children too and she was the youngest. She knew she was the center of attention in this home ~ I loved her that very instant.
Life on my planet was different after sitting for that photo. I had a sister! Not counting cousins, this was a blood relation that wasn’t 10, or 20 years older than me.
I see in that photo, a tiny bit of tinsel from the Christmas tree, the only photo I have in that dress, smooth young skin – both children. Contentment.
Green eyes, all those green eyes, looking at her and both of us looking back at him.
Look what I got for Christmas!