I wrote an essay in graduate school about how my four sisters and I resembled the five fingers on a hand. We came from the same place—the same family, but we were stretching into different directions and different lives. We were connected, yet we were going our own way.
The tone of the essay reflected the need the five of us girls had to differentiate ourselves from each other in subtle yet distinct ways. We didn’t want to be lumped together. I didn’t, anyway. No lumping, people. We needed separate identities, unique life experiences. Our pursuit to be identified as independent people was key as we grew and left home.
As the middle child, apparently I was a self-appointed analyst of the five sister dynamic. I guess I felt uniquely qualified to observe and dissect our sisterly behavior. Middle children have identity issues, amirite?
That was a dozen years ago, before any of us had children. Now we all have children. Between the five of us, we have 13.75 children. We’ve moved from twenty-somethings with a penchant for self-actualization to thirty- and forty-something’s with families and uber-busy lives.
My sisters and I recently spent an entire evening trying to identify a date when we are all available for an overnight girls’ getaway downtown during the upcoming holiday season. This task proved essentially impossible because we are all busy as sin, with completely irreconcilable schedules. I daresay that our encroaching responsibilities stand in the way of our connection to each other more than anything else does.
Is it too much to ask to spend a day and a night downtown with my mom and my sisters, eating non-kid food and shopping and not cleaning up after people?! The answer to that question is “probably.”
Several days and multiple email conversations later, we are still laboriously figuring out a date that sort of works for everyone. We are soldiering onward, determined to do this thing. I think we can make it work. We want everyone there. My youngest sis said it well: “No sister left behind.”
Give us our night away! The five fingers need to stop the jazz hand position and draw close, like a fist.
But not an angry fist. More of a back-off-while-we-hang-out-and-reconnect kind of a fist. Maybe a fist bump kind of a fist.
Or a victory fist raised high.