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As I sat with wet, grey hair, my shoulders covered by a black, plastic cape, the snipping sounds of my hairdresser’s scissors were overtaken by the woman cutting hair at the next chair complaining about her sister.

“Never helps Mom.” “Never takes responsibility.” “Never wants to change plans in a family emergency.”

Face solemn, the woman sitting in the chair nodded her head in agreement. Surely in her 80s, she had endured much and could completely agree.

“I haven’t talked to my sister since September 14, 1986,” she declared, somewhat proudly. Hmmmm.

Astonished, I could keep quiet no longer. “Really? Since 1986? Why not?”

Their mother had died and that was the day the estate was settled. Sister wanted the house to be all hers. House was divided. Hence, relationships awry.

My mind wandered to my sisters: one four years older, one 14 months older. What would it take for me to not speak to them for almost 30 years? Surely more than half of a house. Surely more than their not taking responsibility.

But, then, my sisters do take responsibility. In any family issue or crisis, we gather to help however possible. Known by my youngest brother as “stalkers,” we sometimes go overboard in trying to help with those family issues. If it takes stalking, well, we stalk together, no matter what time of the day or night.

And, of course, my sisters wouldn’t stop talking to me over half a house. They would give me the whole house if I needed it. But I wouldn’t want the house…I would say, “You take it.”

And they would argue, “No, we have houses; we don’t need anything more.” Bottom line…whoever needs the house (like youngest brother…stalk, stalk) can have it, and together, let’s make sure it stands so he can live in it for a very long time.

Lost in thought between the scissors' snips, I felt sadness for these women who have sisters, but don’t REALLY have sisters. And I felt joy because of the sisters I do have.

Relationship is what matters in life, and my family does pretty doggone well in the relationship realm. Our parents taught us the joy of giving, the importance of loving, and the necessity of forgiving. The example they’ve set before us has lit the path to joy-filled life.

Have they made mistakes? You bet. But they’ve learned through those mistakes and helped us understand how crucial it is to go on living, loving and giving no matter what.

Complaining about my sisters is not something I find myself doing very often, if at all. Oh, yes, we tease about SNEAKing, about broken arms, stolen boyfriends, one-dip-a-hand fingernail polish, but complain? Don't think so.

If I have complained before, LORD, let me never do so again.

For sitting there under that cape, I realized all over again the importance of sisters…especially the importance of mine. And I vowed to appreciate them just a little bit more, to love them a little bit deeper…and to give them my house, mice and all, if they want it!

©Donna Arthur Downs


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