Tomorrow I head home, to the place I grew up. My mom and sister still live in the area, and my other sister is coming from Washington state to spend some sister time with us too.
Our time apart is always hard. We miss each other. We were close growing up and thought we'd always live near each other, instead of being scattered to the four winds.
Years ago I moved to Alabama as a young wife, barely 18. When I would go home for a visit, the anticipation of seeing my family would nearly make me ill. I would get so wound up with excitement that I would have trouble sleeping, and the days until the reunion would drag like years. Then whoosh, it would be upon me, and over before I could blink twice.
I spent time after those visits in deep melancholy. Because I never knew when or if I would see my sisters again. So each parting was almost like a death for me. But gradually, as I settled into living here in the south, and raising my family, this became my home, and my heart became tied to the life I made for myself here, with my husband and children.
I got older, and the visits with my sisters became more frequent as we became more financially settled, and the kids grew up and moved out on their own. I knew I could see my sisters almost as often as I wanted, and when my father voiced regret before he died about not seeing us more often over the years, after we had grown, my sisters and I vowed to see each other as often as possible. As often as our hearts felt the need. And one trip a year would be just for us, to spend together away from everyone and just focus on our sister bond.
Today is International Women's Day. Tomorrow I see my sisters. The women I admire and look up to most in the world. My right and left arm. The sisters who love me unconditionally, and without whom I would not be the woman I am today. For most assuredly they influenced me more than any other people on this earth. And they still do.
Now, as I have grown older, I anticipate our get togethers like a fine bottle of wine, to be savored slowly, sip by sip, and each moment enjoyed to the fullest.
And for these marvelous, funny, intelligent, witty, beautiful women that I love: