Monday, August 8, 2011

Good All the Way Through

Three sisters and the coolest aunt in the world
My Much Older Sister and I are not, in fact, far apart in age. Nineteen months, to be exact. We were the queens of the castle, the rulers of the farm, for four years. Then the middle of the five siblings were born. I thought of the picture above over the weekend when the second of the most wonderful sisters in the world spent a day with me.

(Before we move on, could we pause for a moment to admire the astonishing fashion plate I was at age six? That striped tee, those plaid pants, the high-water nature of both pieces of clothing--Tim Gunn would be proud of my daring. I made it work.)

Much Older Sister was just learning to ride her Western Flyer and I was holding R's hand as she posed behind her little tricycle. J and I were the big girls; R was the baby.

But the age disparity was only one of many differences between us. Although all of us were movie-star beautiful, J and I were movie star beautiful along the lines of the bowing Austrian folksinger who wouldn't get off the stage in the Sound of Music; R was more Audrey Hepburn.

J and I were this movie star...

R was this one.

As we got older, my hair was cut in a short, wispy pixie cut; R had beautiful thick braids that brushed out into a curtain of hair that fell past her waist.

It wasn't until this weekend, though, when R came to visit and we spent hour after hour drinking coffee and talking and laughing that I was able to pinpoint the crucial difference between me and my Much Younger Sister. I introduced her to some friends at church, and later one remarked that R seemed like she would be a wonderful friend.

"Oh, she is," I responded from my heart without thinking. "She is the only person I know who is good all the way through."

I remember when she was in high school and attended the high school career night. By then she had decided she wanted to be a doctor, but signed up to visit the booths of a cosmetology school and the U.S.Marine Corps because she didn't want those recruiters to feel lonely while everyone else was visiting the K-State booth. 

Four decades later she is still as tender-hearted and compassionate as she was then. She worries about her children who are in the midst of teenage maelstrom, and about the patient whose nebulous symptoms she hadn't quite pinned down when she last saw him, and in all the hours of talking and laughing, she did not make one single unkind remark.

You understand how rare that is, right? That when someone is with her nearest and dearest and at her most unguarded she is unfailingly compassionate? Unfailingly willing to give the benefit of the doubt?

She is good all the way through, and the most wonderful younger sister in the world.

1 comment:

  1. Love the stripes and plaid! I usually wore plaid with plaid... wonder why at the time it seemed so okay.

    How wonderful to have a sister so good and kind and compassionate.... And that you don't hate her because of it! ;)

    "J and I were movie star beautiful along the lines of the bowing Austrian folksinger who wouldn't get off the stage in the Sound of Music" <=== so funny!