Thursday, December 29, 2011


Prologue: Mrs. C leaned over to me at the movies this afternoon (What? It's vacation and we saw a PG movie. With our kids.) and called it. She said "Seven is on it's way after this one, isn't it.".

Apparently so.

What do Matt Damon, red kites, and the Easter Bunny have in common? They all made me cry today, for different reasons.

I already admitted that I cry whenever I see someone else cry, whether they are faking it or not, and in the movie we saw today, Matt Damon did. So I did.

The red kites were symbolic of someone he'd loved and lost, which made me think of crying, which then made me cry again.

And the Easter Bunny, well, I'm not going to spoil the movie for you the way Matt spoiled the April fantasy for my kids (I nearly wept at the thought that the jig is up). I'll just say that at bedtime tonight, when the room is quiet and the candy-coated, egg-shaped wheels start turning in their little heads, I'm going to have some explaining to do. And by explaining, I mean lying. It's fine, I've lied to them at least once a day over the last month about the big guy in the red suit, his wife, and their tiny employees, who laugh and sing as they make gifts for little children all over the world. Just adding to the charade at this point.

To personalize: What do cold spaghetti, cooked carrots, and getting my ears pierced have in common? They all make me cry, depending on the day. (Disclaimer: I am opening a distinctly complicated can of worms here. You should know I'm only letting one or two worms out, yet reading it might still feel like trying to eat mochi with mittens on. My apologies.)

I don't remember as much about my sister as my oldest brother might, because I am 12 years younger, and by the time I was five and making the memories I can recall today, she was already practically an adult. I remember her in frames. I can picture her eating cold spaghetti out of the refrigerator in the home we were raised in. I remember her making me cooked carrots mashed up with tons of butter and salt so I would eat my veggies with dinner. And when I was eight years old, she looked at me and said "Want to go to the mall and get your ears pierced?". My answer was yes, and we did just that, even though we both knew if our mother had been there her answer would have been a resounding NO.

I have other snapshots of her in my head, as well as a few short movies. Some of them happy, some not so much.

I also have her daughter. Her stunning, compassionate, free spirit of a daughter. She is so different from my sister and yet, so much like her in look and feel that it literally takes my breath away when I see her. Sometimes I feel transported to another place. A place that makes me ache for more and less at the same time. 

But I'm starting to think that when my sister went, she left us with the best part of her. My niece is my sister's silver lining, a heavenly glimpse of all that could have been, given to us to keep, and wrapped up in a new, healthy, blue-eyed bow. 

And today in the darkness of the theatre, watching the scene where the red kites fly against the blue sky, I thought of my sister. I'm pretty sure she was instrumental in perpetuating the Easter Bunny myth for me, along with my parents. And I definitely remember her explaining to me the merits of covering a tuna noodle casserole with potato chips.

It may not be the most glamorous keepsake from our time together, but it's what I've got. And it goes great with cooked carrots, cold spaghetti, and new earrings, so I'll take it.

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