Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My sister

5-26-08 sibling brain
Memorial Weekend Part I: My Sister

A few hours after my arrival at my parents on Thursday evening, my sister came walking through the front door about 9:00 PM to surprise Mom and Dad. I knew she was planning to drive in from her home in Chattanooga TN, but I had not said anything to Mom and Dad. I wanted to maintain my skill at keeping a secret. I did try to leave a hint by pulling out the bottom part of the trundle bed, but Mom just thought I preferred the bottom mattress.

As we went to bed that night, I couldn’t help but think about how special this weekend would be with just us four souls together under one roof. No husbands, no grandkids…. This hasn’t happened in at least two decades I’m guessing.

My sister Jan and I shared my old bedroom since Dad has taken over her old bedroom for his office. I must say it didn’t take long for Jan and I to fall into old habits. We both were notorious for messy rooms at teenagers. We easily destroyed the room in less than the first 24 hours. My Dad’s famous words were always…. “This room is a pigsty”… however, I think the pigs here in Iowa would be offended by that comparison- they are much cleaner.

Even at the kitchen table, our old habits took hold. We sat in our usual seating arrangements which meant that I, as the youngest and low man on the totem pole, had the chair with my back to the TV….. AND I didn’t even mind. In a world of change, the familiar routines of the weekend were comforting to me.

Friday morning Jan and I started in the “Honey Do List” that Mom and Dad had made for me. I was happy that my sister was now here to work with me. It doesn’t happen often when I do chores, but I was actually feeling very joyful while we all were outside in the garden working together.

The first project was weeding, laying down 14 bags of mulch, and pulling dandelions. My Dad had his camera out and he is notorious for his many unflattering pictures of my Mom’s rear end over the years. I became aware of one such photo-op, thus I jumped in the picture and encourage Dad to shoot us working! As my Dad would laugh…. “hee, hee, hee”….

I often call my sister a “helicopter mother” since she is constantly in contact with her two children via phone or texting. Sara and Christopher are in their early 20’s…. but Jan just can’t seem to cut the apron stings. If caring about her family TOO MUCH is a crime, well then she is guilty. However, during this weekend time together I have to admit I have come to appreciate more this “helicopter quality” in Jan, since this is the same love and dedication she brings to Mom, Dad and me.

Maybe she can be a controlling, bossy big sister at times, but I feel lucky to have someone like her who is fiercely dedicated and willing to help with our aging parents. She has great passion towards us all.

My big sister is more of a blessing than a curse, since I know when things get tough, she will be there to help..... and hold my hand when I'm nervous.


  1. Judy, this was so touching and warm and heartfelt. It brought tears to my eyes. I just lost one of big sisters last June to cancer. She was a lot older than I and was more like a second mom to me, but as adults our relationship mostly became sisterly.

    That last picture is so, so sweet. I can tell she has always loved you very much.

  2. I was waiting to see what story line you would have today. I like the pic of the "Butt Serbern girls". Your family will love this blog and it's a very nice tribute to Jan and your family.