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The "Wu Word" Blog

August 2015

These Three Sisters

On a glorious sun-soaked day in New York City, three sisters met in the chaos, calamity, crowds, hustle, and bustle of New York City. 
 
These three sisters had not seen each other in a year.  They normally did not see each other for a year—partly because their lives were abundantly overly busy, but mainly because of the roots and the multitude of complicated emotional layers involved with their parents that led to an unspoken agreed annual meeting based on familial responsibility and the ties that bind.
 
However, this meeting was unlike any other, for it was a meeting without any of their parents involved and/or physically present. 
 
One sister was my older biological sister.  Looking chic as always in black sunglasses and chunky jewelry, she asked aloud: “Where is this bar again?”
 
I had to chuckle internally because she was the one who had originally set up this meeting, found the place, and had even made the reservation. 
 
My biological sister was 7 years older than me.  She was a worldwide traveler and adventurer that possessed this wandering spirit and zest flowing in her.  Growing up, I thought she was just a much taller playmate to dance and sing to 1980’s legends of Madonna and Whitney Houston every now and then.  By the time I could understand that she was my sister, she was out of the house and I basked in this believed only child role.  We were raised by the insight and guidance of our ever-grinning, philosophical, and scientific father who is now 68 years younger and all the wiser.
 
My younger half-sister was glued to her iPhone 6 to read the map and decipher the directions to the bar.  She said calmly, “Oh, it is right around this corner on 5 avenue.” 
 
I raised my eyebrows.  I never knew she was so good with directions, or, at least, reading a map on an iPhone to figure it out.  I guess this was no surprise considering the tech-aged generation and ways of living that she grew up in.
 
This other younger half-sister is 13 years younger than me.  I remember when I was 13-years-old and held her in my arms for the first time, glowing in the role of an older sister.  We had sisterhood adventures when we roamed New York City to endlessly eat and explore and another one-time sleepover at my apartment after going to an Ingrid Michaelson concert and then waking up to go to a Church to sing hymns.  She was raised by her father and our biological mother who were ingrained with faith and prayers that I somewhat wavered over when my biological mother left and am gaining on my own now in life.   
 
At least two steps lagging behind these two sisters was me.  Short legs and joint issues always had me physically behind everyone.   I am the sister who went from believing I was an only child to the facts that I am a biological younger sister (or youngest sister), older half-sister, and quasi-middle sister between my older biological sister and younger half-sister.  I am actually the sister who wanted and craved a brother just for the fun and experiences.  I am the sister that is more than a sister, but aren’t we all more than just the titles and roles that we are born into?  Titles are untitled when unfulfilled anyhow. 
 
The bar was downstairs and on the lowest level of a sophisticated and overly expensive per night hotel.  The bar was hidden behind a heavy secret passageway of a door that revealed complete darkness with extremely dim lit rounded candles and hanging energy-saving and tiny lights. 
 
We spent miniscule time pouring over the menu of non-alcoholic drinks (after all, my half-sister was not even 21-years-old now) and plates of meats and cheeses.  We spoke little about our parents and spoke all the more about our lives in motion in the last year, which revolved around work/jobs, school, and activities.   We did not speak of the past or the future when we were present in each other’s presence, although we knew very well how much the past had deeply affected our present relations with each other as sisters.
 
At least, it was this way for me.  I was deeply affected by my relations with my two sisters that have most definitely led into my relations with friends and strangers.  In this one reunion of us meeting for the first time with only the three of us, I could now see that the world of having siblings, sisters, and a sisterhood was a privileged and unique one that was formed by our parents and how they had raised each of us.  Only siblings have the insight into what it is like growing up and being raised by the same parents, but in dissimilar methods and ways based on how each of us as individuals are in differing personalities and life experiences.
 
We were three sisters who had the same mother, but different fathers.  All with dark eyes and even darker hair that only lightened slightly in the sun.  All with dissimilar skin shades, almond-eye size and shapes, height, and hair textures.  Same mother that I had for 8 years of my life, about 15 years of my older biological sister’s life, and 19 years of my younger half-sister’s life.  Although our personalities were completely unlike each other, there were startling similarities that went beyond the scope of the same genetic make-up from our mother.  It amazes me that we come from the same maternal gene pool, yet we could not be all the more different, yet similar, from each other. 
 
The sun light was fading and revealing smoggy swirls of colors of the sun soon setting.  We exchanged hugs, gifts, and words of: “Yes, we will keep in touch!”  or “Yes!  Do not let so much time pass again until we see each other again!” 
 
Before I knew it, as quick as I had taken the train ride in to New York City for all of us to meet, it was even quicker to end.  All the feelings were indescribably bouncing around in me like invisible atoms that were clamoring to be seen, heard, and, most of all, understood.  I was quiet on the train ride home while my older sister was talking away and poking at me to hear my views on our time together. 
 
When I was still locked in my silent zone that was not about to unlock anytime soon, she finally ended by saying: “Well, the best thing that Mom ever did was have the three of us.  We will still be sisters and still have each other as we get old in life. ” 
 
Yes, I would have to say, this was true.  And, I felt and was grateful.  I am grateful.  What had seemed an ending when my parents divorced and my biological mother literally left has manifested into an extremely slow start of new expanding horizons and relations with both my sisters. My gratitude for both sisters stemmed from how our parents had raised us and have led me to see that siblings and sisters have taught me that I am still learning about sharing, giving, communicating, and working things out.  From both sisters, I realize that siblings are the starting points to such emotions as jealousy, envy, responsibility, confusion, love, and hate that affect us in our later relations.  Alongside these emotions are the slammed doors, screaming matches, shaking heads, and the symphony of sighs, laughter, tears, joy, and silence.  I would never trade any of these emotions or experiences with my sisters for they have catapulted me forward in life with people who have come, gone, and stayed. 
 
I could not imagine my life without having a sibling, nor would I want to, for it has brought me all the more and new perspectives, understandings, and interpretations about people and where they come from and who they are.  I could not imagine being an only singular child with only my parents.  It is not that I feel sorry for only children.  It is just a very strong understanding now about the varying vast dynamics of only children and having siblings.  Though the experiences, emotions, and interpretations are different for each sibling and person, only siblings can understand the ever-evolving plight that parents endure to raise their children. 
 
It has taken me 33 years to now say that I am content to have siblings and sisters that have given me gifts that have added so much to my life.  Do you have siblings?  How do you feel it has affected you?  Or, have you ever believed or wanted to just be an only child if you are not?  Or, if an only child, did you ever want a sibling?
 
On this day, these three sisters met for their annual meeting.  No parents physically present, but the roots of their parents and how they raised and brought up each sister/each person were already there as the building blocks and beyond.  On this day, one year of these three sisters’ lives were crammed into no more than three hours together with every hidden and unspoken hope and happiness to have each other and to see each other for more than three hours and more than once a year to come.
 
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,

Mary     :-) 

Best Friend

“When was the last time we had a sleepover at my place?” I asked in to the depths of darkness with only slots of lights from the outside spilling into my bedroom.
 
Even without my glasses on that caused my sight to be as blind as a bat, I caught a glimpse of the bright full spotlight moon glittering.  The ceiling fan was whirring, letting a gentle and endearing breeze circulate and sweep over my friend and I in the hottest of summer nights. 
 
“I don’t remember,” my friend of over 20 years said to me.    
 
It was quiet again.  Quiet comfortable.  You know that kind of quiet.  The kind that you want to hug slowly and sweetly.  It is the kind of quiet when you know you are really in good company and friendship when there is complete comfort in the quiet.
 
Breaking the silence, she asked abruptly, “Do you remember when we used to stay up until 4:30 in the morning talking at our sleepovers when we were just kids?”
 
I smiled in the dark.  My eyes were half-closed, and my mind was shutting down.  Sleep was catching up with me.  She could not see my smile, but I did not doubt in the stillness of the sweet moments that she could feel my smile.  I shifted in the bed and stared at the glowing numbers of the alarm clock.  It read: 1:30AM. 
 
“Yeah, I remember.  It’s 1:30 in the morning,” I mumbled, half asleep. 
 
“Yeah, I’m tired,” she groggily responded back. 
 
We fell asleep.  Before the serenity of sleep overcame me, I wanted to say to her that we were getting old because we were unable to stay up until 4:30am as we were in our youth.  Before I would dream new dreams that would not make complete sense to me, I meant to say that her that this would be yet another memory in our over 20 years of friendship that would live on in my mind and make me smile in simple and sheer happiness. 
 
Growing up, all I wanted was a best friend.  I thought and really believed that a best friend was limited strictly to one person and one person alone that would be there for me no matter what.  Possessiveness and jealousy would kick in if the one person I believed to be my best friend became friends with others.  Somewhere along the lines and times of growing pains that accompany growing up, I realized that my circle was not so small and was like a wide open shopping mall that had revolving doors of people coming in and out.  Some stayed for a little while to browse around the different floors or layers of me and my life.  Some stayed a little longer for a certain rhyme or reason at that certain time.  Some left quickly because it just wasn’t meant to be and not because of me.  Then, there were the very, very few who stayed out of deep loyalty, history, connection, closeness, and comfort to always be there no matter all the ever-changing and different floors, displays, and items that came along in life. 
 
Life is an intriguing and fascinating mystery and journey that has limitless people of faces and names.  Friendships and relationships are slow, unfolding, and beautiful progressions filled with smooth movements and rough roads.  As much as these friendships and relationships blossom on their own accord, having friendships that have lasted and that keep on going for over 20 years has also made me see that it takes work and efforts—not to be mistaken for force.  There are ongoing waves with people at the high points and low points of life.    Sometimes, the waves just crash with certain people to never be seen again or are not seen again until another time or place.
 
Not many people can say that they have been friends with people for over 20 years.  Not many people can say that 20 years and counting have just made the time all the more precious with these people and the ties of friendship all the stronger that can withstand everything and anything.  Not many can also say that they have been blessed with new friends and faces that have brought new graces and gifts to life. 
 
But, I am one of those few people who can say this.  I am one of the lucky people who live this.  And, I am now the lucky one who realizes that I have never had a best friend that has only been limited to this fallacy of one.  Rather, I am the one who tries to see the best in each of my friends who have enhanced my life and me—whether the enhancements have derived from history of over 20 years of friendship or the new breaths of fresh air that brings beauty in its own ways.
 
Real friends are hard to come by.  Loyalty is a rarity and can shift quickly in changing times and circumstances.  The tables of people and life are always turning and turning, or like a Lazy Susan spinning around and only stopping every now and then when needed and beckoned.  Over 20 years ago, I never would have imagined that the girls I grew up with would ever be adults (or that I would ever be an adult) who survived and endured many growing pains all together.  We were once the children that were taken care of by our protective and watchful parents, but now we are in the roles to care for them as they grow old and as we continue with the growing pains of growing up.  Over 20 years ago, we stayed up until the crack of dawn at slumber parties at each other’s parent’s homes.  We played with dolls, ate junk food, and girlishly giggled over what seemed so complicated at that time that we now see as simple.  20 years later, our parents are not in the household to hear our conversations that have manifested into philosophies of life and living while we eat pie and drink tea. 
 
To be and have a real friend is more important than the non-existent best friend title.   I no longer will ask anyone if he/she has a best friend.  I now just ask:  Are you seeing the best in your circle of friends?  Are you being the kind of friend that you want to be treated?  What is your idea of a friend?  Has your life been so blessed with REAL friends rather than the fallacy of a best friend?
 
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,

Mary :-) 
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