Saturday, October 1, 2011

family yoga, sisterhood

Its my sister Audrey's birthday. We hung out the entire eve, painted each others' nails, drank wine and champagne, watched part of "Meet Me at St. Louis" with Judy Garland, one of our favorite musicals growing up, and waited till midnight. I can't remember the last time I spent it with her.

My mother is here as well. And the fact that the three of us are together is just short of a miracle. I have made some sacrifices choosing to live in Asia for over the past decade. I've missed countless birthdays and holidays. I've lost time with those I love, the daily interaction that color and build relationships.

Its been challenging to return home and spend substantial time enough to realize that there are gaps in our history, that there have been changes in our tastes and in our habits, that we've evolved while the other wasn't looking. Change is good, but jarring to those who failed to notice it.

Having said that, I feel incredibly blessed to have this time now to be able to see the shifts, to be able to bridge certain gaps. Or at least make an effort at it.

I love my sister. She's been a real light in my life. And despite the distance, I always feel her presence and support throughout all my landmark moments, highs and lows. I am astounded by her brain--and have been, in the past, more than a little jealous. She scored much higher on the SAT's when she took them in junior high, at the time I was in high school. I admire her even-mindedness and passion for her beliefs. I respect her work ethic and the choices she's made. I was awed when early in her college life she started to volunteer at the Berkeley Free Clinic, then focusing her energy in HIV-prevention and AIDS education. I wasn't surprised when she got into Columbia for her masters program. I've always been impressed with her style. Not just in fashion, but in person, which I think has always been forward-thinking and brave.

No matter how much she continues to grow as a person, I will always think of her as my little sister. This, however, has its drawbacks, especially since we don't get to interact much in person.

I spent half of my life quite used to my sister being little, following me around, minding what I said (she was that nice, really! even when I wasn't). And now to spend this extended amount of time here, the longest we've spent together in years...

We've both changed, both women now, both willful, both stubborn, both more in touch with our personal needs and both more sensitive to when those needs are being obstructed. So, we've been adjusting to both the old patterns of sisterhood in the context of who we are now, both strong but both really different. We share the same sore beliefs, the same end goals, but our ways our different. We argue the same side of an issue but our delivery is different. We both want peace and sanity. She has her therapy and I have my yoga. Same, same but different.

I have had my moments this trip when I felt the heavy weight of difference. But the "sameness" between us is the key, and the differences are there to help us grow closer as sisters.

To Audrey, I am filled with gratitude for the Thirty-one-derful years you've been keeping me company on this crazy planet. It has been a gift to share so much with you! You are hands down my favorite person in the whole wide world. I love you so much and always will. K

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