There's nothing quite like sisters. To put it simply, they have my back. I tell them stuff I don't even need to tell because they get it. They know. They don't let me get away with nonsense, except when I need to get away with nonsense.
We freely tell each other when we think one of us is being straight up crazy but we would defend each other to world's end.
But then there's the aunt thing.
That's a benefit you don't ever really consider when you are borrowing each others' clothes and sharing secrets in high school.
It didn't occur to me that someday these tall sisters of mine would love my children and bless their lives.
Last week, the play that Emma so doggedly assisted in directing was performed. Olivia and two of her kids (and my parents, but this isn't about my parents--you already know they're awesome) came to watch. They didn't know a soul on the stage but they knew Emma. Emma was glowing with excitement about the whole thing. She hugged everyone and answered questions and asked, "Did you love it? Did you love it?"
And they did. But mostly, they love her and since this mattered to her, it mattered to them.
Fast forward a few days and Emma was in distress. Emma in distress is not a common occurrence. She didn't outright ask me for help--because I can't imagine--but using my motherly intuition, I could tell. I helped her with a school project, which mostly included fixing her a snack and listening to her rail against her partner who had flaked and holding the strings when she needed to tie a knot for the parachute. She was creating a contraption for an egg drop for physics class. I also found some bubble wrap and grabbed the reins when Emma's perfectionist tendencies were threatening to derail the project. I am the queen of Good Enough and Make It Work. So I made it work.
I also tried to talk soothingly about all the things that were making Emma so stressed. She wasn't sleeping well, she had so much on her plate. Besides the play, she has two auditions on the horizon, a scene she is directing for her drama class, and her super hard class load. I get stressed just thinking about it. She said, "What I'm really worried about is what Cecily will wear in my scene."
Emma is directing a scene from "The Importance of Being Earnest" and she has opinions about the costuming that are as strong as her will. And she can't find the perfect dress for Cecily.
I said, "Let me ask my sisters."
She said morosely (because that was her mood), "I don't know how that would help."
I said, "Have you met them?"
She conceded the point.
I talked to Olivia first. She started bubbling with ideas. She made several suggestions and led me along a path that made me consider my wedding dress. It's kind of Victorian looking. Emma's not sure it will fit her Cecily but we'll see. (Emma said, "But it's your wedding dress!" I told her I don't plan on wearing it again.)
Then I talked to Marianne. She named some of Olivia's ideas. She looked through her dress up dresses (both my sisters have dress up dresses). She texted me a picture of one. She had another idea, it was boxed up in her garage among Clarissa's things. Marianne said, "I should have had Clarissa create a key of what is boxed up where. Every box just has 'Clarissa's Do Not Open' written on it."
We chatted some more and Marianne promised that when Desi got home, they would have a fashion show and text me the pictures for Emma's perusal. (Although neither Marianne or I have met the girl playing Cecily, we decided she's Desi's size.) Then she said, "I have to go. I'm a woman on a mission and I need to go look for that dress!"
Friday night these texts showed up:
Such a cute sweet Desi! (In the absence of sisters, Emma's cousins are a compensation.) Emma picked the pink floor length formal Marianne wore to a dance in the 80s. Marianne boxed it up and sent it our way.
The message in this is very clear. Olivia and Marianne are on Emma's side. It's hard to not feel like you're winning when those two are on your team.