Sisters Weekend. Not Pictured: Sisters.

You would think my two sisters and I don’t get along. Not only do we live in three of our continent’s four edges–Michigan, Washington and Texas (also equally distant from our parents in North Carolina, whom we also like a good deal, by the way)–we stay in touch only fitfully, rarely calling or emailing or, now, texting. 

Can I just say we’re not a very touchy-feely family?

But we DO get along. We like and admire and enjoy each other. And, as the youngest sister and the designated Sentimental One, I borrowed the idea from a friend of mine of the Sisters Getaway, to honor the occasion of our 60th birthdays, one at a time.

Our agreements: the getaway did not have to be on the actual birthday. Convenience was paramount. So was sun (especially for my winter-stricken Michigan sister). And we would gather in a place none of us knew well, so that no one had to play host.

Two years ago, we spent three days together in San Diego. This year, our middle sister picked Denver. Denver in May–hurray! Bring on that Rocky Mountain sunshine!

Or…not.

Oh, silly girls. Denver in May does what it likes.* Luckily for us, we had decided in advance that we wouldn’t be doing any serious hiking, since one of us is in the process of setting a date for hip replacement surgery. (Did I mention we are all getting older? Funny about that.)

*I did, however, prevail on my sisters to swing by the local REI so I could plunder their sales rack for a warm extra layer–having seriously under-packed.

So what should proceed now is a montage of of us out enjoying the sights of Denver, right? Group selfies, snapshots of delicious food and drinks. Glorious, happy vacation pics.

But my sisters are more private than I am, and that is only one of the things I love about them. So I won’t be sharing any of the pictures I took of us. I could have taken a picture of the living room of our Air B ‘n’ B house, which is where we spent most of our time. Or of a Denver bus–we rode them all over town. Or of the interior of Union Station, which, it turns out, is an extremely cozy place where you can hang out for hours for free, just gabbing and people-watching, as long as you don’t lie down on the couches.

But again…sorry. This getaway was about each other. The only real touring we did was of memory; the only real exploration of feelings; the only real adventure was peering into our mutual futures.

Still, I’m blogging about it, so SOME pictures would be useful, eh? We did wander through Denver’s not-exactly-downtown Downtown Aquarium, which was exceedingly noisy for an aquarium, but also yielded some extraordinary beauty.

Mesmerizing.

I’ve been in many aquariums. (Aquaria?) Never saw anything like this anemone before.

Another slow wander: the Botanical Gardens. (See, we do know how to tourist!)

I think these crazy giants are from South Africa…

And for good measure, one quirky photo from downtown:

I completely support this statement.

But that’s it. That’s the whole post. What I’m saying here is–love your family in your own way. Do it with, and for, the camera if you want to. Or don’t. Call or text or email, or don’t. But love ’em. Life is short. One day you’ll turn around and be 60. Or, if you’re so blessed, 80.

Me, I hope to re-post this when we’re celebrating each other’s 90th. Inshallah!

Sibling Sweetery

We get a lot of summer visitors. Why wouldn’t we? Scenic island–check. Sunny, mid-sixties-to-seventies days–check. Kayaks, trails, farmers market–check. Terrific bakery (OK, I’m a little biased since I work there, but 99% of customers agree, “Holly’s Buns Are Best.”)–check.

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By the way, lest you think I am bragging–the rest of the year is largely clouds, rain of some form or other, wind, and temperatures in the 40-50s range. Not so many visitors then. But summers here in the San Juans are AWESOME.

So, lots of visitors: family, friends, friends-of-friends. Currently we’re being visited by the family of the sister of my best friend from high school. And she has the Best. Kids. Ever.

The daughter’s about to turn sixteen, the son’s not quite thirteen. I’ve known families with just this configuration of ages, and their parents usually end up apologizing for infecting our island paradise with their squabblesomeness, as though it were contagious. “Pshhh,” we say. “All sisters and brothers fight. That’s nothing. You should’ve seen me and my sister…”

(courtesy someecards, via Pinterest)

(courtesy someecards, via Pinterest)

The thing is, this bro & sis DON’T fight. They LIKE each other. They’re affectionate. They tease, but in a sweet way, like besties. Even when they’re playing competitive games that  my husband and I have learned not to engage in without marriage counseling. Crazy Eights and Hearts? No fights. Bananagrams? Nothin’. Washers? They try to beat their parents.

And of course they split the last piece of pie as a matter of course.

My husband and I are astounded…and delighted.

And I am CURIOUS. How did this come to be? Why is it so uncommon?

Is it parenting? These kids’ parents are certainly mellow, cool people. But I know lots of mellow, cool parents whose kids act like contestants in The Hunger Games.

(courtesy someecards, via Pinterest)

(courtesy someecards, via Pinterest)

Is it birth order? Our own two boys always got along pretty well, but our younger son acknowledges that if he’d been the elder, there’d have been a new sheriff in town. Maybe our friends’ girl is just one of those sweeties like our son. (Where was she when I was undergoing mental waterboarding by MY older sister?)

Is it the fact that they’re on vacation? In my own experience, that makes the squabbles worse, not better. So much interesting new stuff to squabble over!

Is my sample skewed? Maybe there are tons of great sister-and-brother pairings out there, and I’ve somehow never met ’em.

So help me out here. What causes some sibling pairs to get along while others fight like cats and dogs? What variables are at play? How did your own experience with your siblings inform your thinking on this?

(someecards, courtesy Pinterest)

(someecards, courtesy Pinterest)