A eulogy

Have you ever wanted to write a eulogy for someone?  For someone who was still I alive?  I have.  Not because I wish for this person’s demise, but because she is truly remarkable.

The person I have in mind is totally unassuming, will never try to steal attention away from someone else, and instinctively thinks of others first.  She is the kind of person you could call to give a play-by-play rendition of your trip to the grocery store, while she listens patiently at the other end before telling you she is in the middle of a contraction.  She is the kind of woman who will birth a baby at midnight, suffer from postpartum hemorrhaging, be unable to move on her own, but still remember to call her niece the very next morning to wish her a happy birthday.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the individual to whom I am referring is my sister.  When I called my mom to celebrate the news of my new nephew with her, I commented how my sister remembered Susanna’s birthday while her own newborn was still sucking back colostrum.

“Can I please talk to Susanna, ” she requested feebly.  I immediately passed the phone to my daughter, imagining her auntie lying on her back in the hospital bed.  I watched a smile spread across Susie’s face as her Auntie told her she had tried her hardest to keep the baby inside until Susanna’s birthday, but to no avail.  (Tara had made a separate call right after the birth, so I knew this one was just for Susanna.)

After retelling this to my mom, adding that if it were me, I would have given myself a least a month before doing something so thoughtful, my mom answered back:

“Well that’s typical.  I got a call from her this morning and the first thing she asked was, ‘How are you?’  I told her I wasn’t even going to answer the question.”

Listening to my mom describe the call, I knew I had to write something to draw attention to my sister.  Because, as surely as the boy’s name is Elmer, she won’t do it herself.

So Tara, if you are agile enough to get to a computer and read this, know that I admire you and wish to emulate you.  You are a gracious, authentic, selfless woman and your three! children are lucky to call you mom.


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  Who are you thankful for in your life?  If you were asked to give a eulogy for that person tomorrow, what would you say?

Ode to a sister

My sister just pulled out of the driveway with my mother, and left three of us waving frantically from the window.  She and her kids spent a week and a half with us; birthday-ing, camping, and just plain living.  Yesterday, as we sat outside folding boatloads of laundry, pitching a baseball to her littlest one, making snacks, and everything in between, I said, “Some people actually live like this.  Women all over the world are living in family groups, managing their house and children together.”

Shade, fresh snap beans, clean laundry, and a sister.

Doesn’t it sound good to you?  It’s so Red Tent-ish.  Imagine always having someone around to ask if your hair looks too greasy to go out, to take over flipping the pancakes while you set the table, or to hash over decisions you’ve already made (sparing your husband the torture).  We may have two cars, flush toilets, independence and all the privacy we want in our society but I think we are missing out on that kind of daily community.

So what are we to do?  Not all of us have sisters close by or any siblings at all.


Somehow we have to wriggle into the lives of other people, and let them wriggle into ours.  It’s a long, slow process adopting sisters though, and it would be so much easier if I had mine around to start with.  If you are lucky enough to have a sister nearby today, tell her to come over!  Trust me.


Besides doing laundry and beans we celebrated a birthday and went camping with the rest of the family.

My sister had a unique idea for the prize at the end of the treasure hunt:

Each child was given a block of ice (frozen with food colouring in a margarine container the night before) and a fork.  Inside the chunk of ice was a bracelet and ring.  The kids had to chip away at the ice to get to their treasure.  The more aggressive types took to smashing their ice blocks on the sidewalk.

Grandma partaking in birthday fun

The raft project: The cousins assembled the logs and Stan helped a little (okay, a lot) lashing it together.

sitting around the fire with grandpa

The kayak is just about ready for its maiden voyage.  Stan made it so we could nest it inside our canoe and car-top them both easily on our Saturn.  Let’s hope it holds water!!

Garlic update: It’s got one week left to cure before I cut off the root hairs and green tops and store it in my basement for the winter.