There are extra tears all around the house tonight with the departure of AuntPammy, who’s been staying with us for the past week. It was a relief and a delight to have her eager hands and warm heart. Indeed, upon arrival, she set aside her considerable expertise and abilities– and the fact that she could probably care for our kids better than us– and just followed our lead, helping us with whatever needed doing whenever it needed to be done (ok, with the exeption that she taught our kids the alphabet yesterday). She cooked, she cleaned, she changed, she coddled and comforted and consoled. She even rode along on a harrowing visit to the hospital for a blood draw. For seven days, she answered every request with ‘yes’ and grabbed each new challenge with openness and vigor and love. Through it all, she helped us find some more balance and get back into some rhythm, even if the change was only incremental.
I’m probably the worst brother in the world: I space on special days, I never visit, call, write, or email, and I’m so self-absorbed that it’s shameful. But as the oldest child, I work hard to avoid pigeon-holing my siblings as the kids they were when I left home. Still, I broke out into a full sweat whenever the conversation swung to her area(s) of expertise. Talking to her about education, or her Master’s research, or her classroom presence, I found myself bearing down to make sure that I could follow the conversation, ask decent questions, and just basically not embarass myself. She is quite something, my sister. Brilliant, and luminous, and gorgeously generous. I’m unworthy to be her friend, much less her brother.
I should really say more, but I need to wash the dishes now, for the first time in a week.