Thursday, October 24, 2013

Visiting the Hive - a week with my sister

I haven't blogged in almost a month. Not because I haven't had things to write about but mostly because my laptop keeps getting stolen by my children. As their desktop computer is still on a boat, my laptop is their only connection with the online world.  So I keep having to confiscate it back from them. It makes me grumpy.

The most amazing women on earth.
But I just spent a week with my older sister  - she's the one on the left - preceded by a short visit with one of my two younger sisters - the one to the left of me. And that is enough to cure any grumpiness. It's hard for me to put into words how I feel about my sisters. But this picture sums up our relationship pretty well.

Last week Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a wonderful talk in the LDS General Conference. His topic was inclusion in the church; the idea that no matter your background, your doubts, failings, or differences there is room for you in the church community. That is how it works with my sisters.

We are different. Two of my sisters work as teachers, one a full-time kindergarten teacher and one a part-time preschool teacher. The third is an amazingly talented photographer who works when opportunity and her schedule allow. I haven't had a paid job for 14 years.

My oldest sister has lived in the same small town for 20 years. When we go grocery shopping she knows everyone we see, down to the bagger boys. Both my younger sisters lived in the city we grew up in until fairly recently. One of them now lives in Texas, far away from family for the first time. The other moved to a really small town an hour away from both my parents and the oldest sister. The last time I lived within 2 hours of my family was in 2000. My baby sister served a mission in Australia and then took her husband back for their honeymoon. The other two sisters have been only to Mexico. And I've been to more places on the globe than I ever imagined I would.

Three of us have five children each and one has two children with one more angel in heaven. Their ages range from grown and out of the nest (or nearly) to three year olds. Our husbands' careers include computer programmer, Auto shop teacher, Air Force doc and Border Patrol agent.

But we are the same.  Do you see that smile up there? It's the same one- just on four different faces.  Our husbands call us The Hive because we think alike and can understand each other perfectly with minimal communication and effort.  One of the pillars in my ever-changing, always crazy life is that my sisters will always get me. They will understand even when they can't relate. They will always support me, love me and accept me.  It's a given. A blessed one.

So my time with my sisters this past month has been wonderful.

My kids have enjoyed it too. They've enjoyed spending time with their cousins and being able to walk outside and do this:
One of the great advantages of living on the outskirts of a small town is that there is space. Space for planting a garden, space for projects, and space to ride an ATV all around the property and down the dirt road and over the jump into the wash. My boys were out on the 4 wheeler every chance they got and would come back inside with dust covered grins.

My sister and I worked on her oldest son's upcoming wedding plans. She is in charge of most of the reception and is a bit stressed about it. She is also deluded in her estimation of my talents and asked me to help arrange the flowers. So after a day's work we had this to show for it:
We also had bouquets for the bridesmaids and bride and other arrangements for the display tables and the lattice backdrop. It was an enjoyable day and felt good to flex my creative muscles a bit.

The big event of the week was the county fair. We took all the kids on ride bracelet day and it still cost me a packet to get bracelets for all 5 of my brood.
They all enjoyed the rides but I think if asked, the highlight would have been either the life-size, blue-ribbon-winning Tardis made by their oldest cousin, Jake:
Or this chicken and all his fuzzy headed compatriots:
The crowning jewel on our week there was the smoked ribs and pork shoulder created by my brother-in-law. He let Carson help him prepare and smoke the meat, thereby earning the title of Coolest Uncle. This is pretty hilarious since years ago my oldest two though he was the Meanest Uncle. But I digress. I'm not a super huge rib fan but these were the best I have ever tasted. OMGosh delicious!
They went so fast it I almost didn't get a picture! We devoured three full racks of ribs for dinner and had the pork shoulder shredded with sauce for sandwiches the next day. SO good.

As I'm writing all this I'm realizing that I didn't take any pictures with me or my sister in them. I guess that is typical. We are the moms, always behind the camera. Both of us tend to be overly critical of ourselves in photos. But I need to be better about taking shots of more than just my kids. Because I want to remember the times I spend with my sisters. Those memories are more important than a thick chin or a bad hair day.