Sisters Reconnecting at Long Last
The trip I took recently to San Francisco meeting up with my sister Cherie (she lives in Denver and I live in Las Vegas) was almost a miracle in a lot of ways. In fact, just a couple years ago it would’ve been inconceivable for us to spend three days together.
We didn’t see each other for years. The only exchange we had with each other was a Christmas card with a few handwritten words.
Cherie and I have taken very different paths through life. No bad or good here – just different. She’s about to celebrate her 34th wedding anniversary next week. Ray was her high school sweetheart and they married young, ages 20 and 21. I went through a plethora of lousy relationships and finally met Ernie at age 39. By the time we tied the knot I was 48 and he was 60.
Cherie wanted children more than anything in the world. I saw kids as “the world’s biggest job – and a job I didn’t want.” I wanted to write and be in business. When she was unable to have kids, it was a great sadness to her. Eventually they adopted, and now those two children are grown and on their own. In October 2010, she finally became a Grandma at long last. Her little grandson Conrad (nine months old now) brings her incredible joy.
Because my husband is a few years older than me, I became a step-grandma seven years ago when Angelica was born. I now have three step-grandkids. My husband’s former wife (she was always very nice to me) passed away shortly before the first grandchild was born – I’m “Grandma Denise” to them. I love reading stories, taking the girls to the store to pick out a lip gloss or a story book
from the bookstore. When they come to visit they help me water my herb garden, make pancakes for Sunday morning breakfast and set the table. Even though Cherie is two and a half years older, I know she has so much to look forward to in that department. Being a Grandma, even a “Step” is a blast and something we now share as sisters.
We gingerly opened the lines of communication about a year and a half ago. Many Facebook messages and emails later we finally saw each other again a year ago when our Dad passed away. I think we both realized we didn’t want to be the kind of sisters who one day said, “Woulda, coulda, shoulda,” after it’s too late. After flying back home after Dad’s funeral we kept the conversation going. Again, lots of Facebook and emailing.
Cherie doesn’t work outside the home right now, however, for many years she worked in Optics. For a time she had her own gig managing optics stores and offices when the Optician or Office Manager was on vacation or off for illness. Then, a decade ago Cherie started a non-profit in Denver that provides eye exams and glasses for the homeless. She has 65-70 Optometrists who donate time, glasses frames and lenses to help the homeless of Denver have good vision again. She says, “For a child it can make a huge difference because they can read and do better in school, so maybe they will be that child who breaks the cycle of poverty and homelessness.” Pretty impressive.
We spent time shopping and sightseeing. We also spent time talking in our hotel room. We both wanted to get back to the connection we had as sisters 45 years ago when we played school and she taught me to read. Or Barbies. Or bike riding.
Although now we both have a great deal more wisdom and the wrinkles to prove it. She walked with a cane all weekend due to a knee injury. I totally tore up my quads (thighs) walking down Nob Hill in three-inch wedges, wishing I could borrow her cane, go barefoot or sumpthin’.
Cherie and I will never be the same. She’ll never understand the joy I experience in writing. Or, the headaches and triumphs of owning a business, moving energy and creating financial abundance. I’ll never totally connect with her compassion for the homeless that leads her to give so much time away selflessly. She and her husband are reasonable Republicans. Ernie and I are independent-leaning Democrats.
But we can come together, have fun and appreciate we’re adding to the world in our own small ways. We can finally appreciate our differences and love each other for what we do share – an unbreakable bond as sisters.