Sisters. Many of us have one or more sisters. Some have sisters and brothers. Our relationship with our siblings go from very good to very bad and all the points in between.
I have one sister, Jane. No brothers. Jane is nearly eight years younger than me. In our childhood, we didn’t have much of a relationship. I wasn’t the older sister than doted on my baby sister. In fact I really don’t remember much about those early years with Jane. Admittedly, we didn’t spend much time together. When I was eight, I was off to boarding school. I never really figured out why but I enjoyed boarding school. My mother took me out of boarding school when I was around ten. I spent a year or so at home and then I spent a couple of years living with my grandparents.
During this time I only have one vivid memory of Jane. We had visited family friends who had a child about Jane’s age. The young friend had a toy piano which Jane really coveted. After we left Mum said that Santa Clause would bring her one. When Christmas came Mum searched high and low for a toy piano with no luck so she decided a small dinky bike would do. Jane woke up and saw the dinky at the bottom of the bed and excitedly cried out “Look at my piano”. It took us many weeks to convince her it wasn’t a piano.
When High School started I was back home and my school life and my school friends took over my life. Jane was caught up with ballet classes and Irish dancing.
By the time Jane started High School I was working and dating and a new chapter in my life started. I got married at 21. Jane was a bridesmaid at my wedding. From the tales I have heard since she enjoyed herself with my husband’s teenage siblings.
Over the next twenty years we only caught up now and again. Both travelled overseas and we never seemed to be at home together. Mum wrote me all the news about Jane and then about her marriage to John.
When I was forty, my marriage broke up and I came back to Sydney to live with my youngest daughter Lulu. Paul and the other girls stayed in New York.
Jane, at this stage was living on the north shore with her husband and baby daughter, Lizzie. I spent a lot of time there enjoying Jane’s company and the pleasant suburban lifestyle. Neighbors dropping in with their children. Friday night “happy hours” for the women and the kids.
I would mostly sleep over and was always woken up in the early morning by three year old Lizzie.
Jane had another daughter, Jess shortly after I arrived. I remember calling on her in hospital the morning after Jess was born. I sneaked into her room and we shared a bottle of champagne at 11am in the morning.
During the next ten years there were lots of bonding and making up for lost time. The kids were growing up and my daughters came back from overseas. The family was devastated when John left Jane. I was at work when Jane called. It was too hard to believe. But life goes on.
Now we are both over 70, Jane is important in my life. We have just been on a holiday in Jane’s unit in the Gold Coast. We spent most of the time together. Having trips to the shopping malls, evening meals at nice restaurant. Jane spent a few hours at the beach or pool, improving her perfect tan. Me in her flat enjoying the views and the perfect peace. Evenings were spent working out what DVD to watch. It often took so long that when we finally settled on one, it was too late to start watching it.
It is so nice to have this relationship. It is interesting as Jane and I are quite different. We try not to talk about politics or religion or immigration. But there is plenty to talk about without having to get into difficult subjects. We mostly get on together and hardly a day goes by without a phone call.
I am so happy I have a sister.