Children of the same family, the same blood, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply… ~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814
My son completed his Student of the Week Project. He decided (after some additional discussion) to put a picture of himself in the center. He asked me for help in finding a picture and I located one in my home office. (The house is currently down to its bare bones due to the fact that it is on the market).
I wondered what he would do with the picture of his sister ("She is so pretty Mom") but I did not press the issue. It was obvious he was struggling with something as it was. No need for Mom to go poking at his already wounded heart.
As I tucked the boys into my bed later in the evening, my son grabbed the photo album of my daughter off my bedroom bookshelf.
"Mom, there is a picture in here of sister that looks EXACTLY like you. Its freaky. Here, let me show you" he says
I lay on the king sized bed on my stomach and watch my son flip through the purple album I have stuffed full of pictures of his sister.
He finds the picture he is looking for and flips the book around, holding it up to his chest, just beneath his chin.
"See? See this picture. Oh my god, Mom. I thought that was you!" he screeches.
I review the picture and note it is a very nice picture of my daughter. She is around 19 yo, and she is spinning on one of those whirly playground toys. I dont know what it is called. You know, the big discs with bars on them that you spin and get very dizzy from? It appears she was being silly with her college friends. I know from other pictures in the series that she and her friends spent an afternoon shooting photos on a playground.
She looks happy in the picture and is laughing. Her long red hair is blowing behind her.She has a huge smile. Her full lips, like mine, are rose colored. I really don’t see the resemblance, not in that picture, but others always do.
"Yes, it is a nice picture of her, for sure" I tell my son as I take the book from him.
I start to flip through the pictures. My youngest son jumps on my back and peers over my left shoulder. He has very little understanding of his absent sister. While he has known since he was 2, he does not yet have the intellectual or emotional capacity to truly understand who she is. He just stares at the pictures as his older brother and I review and comment on them.
My son comments on my daughters many hair colors ("Just like you mom!"), her green eyes ("They aren’t quite as green as yours Mom"), her tattoo and finally how thin she is. He is happy. Jovial, enjoying the one dimensional version of his older sister. After a few moments, it becomes too much for me. My eyes hurt from holding back tears. I cannot break down in front of the boys.
I swoosh the boys into bed and leave them. I return the purple album to its earlier location on my bedroom bookshelf.
This morning as we left for school I noted that the picture of my daughter was sticking out of my sons backpack. It appeared as though it had fallen there or was placed rather haphazardly.
"What are you doing with that picture? Are you still taking it?" I ask my son.
"Yes" he responds very flatly.
"Oh" I answer.
We drive to school and as I take the backpacks out of the trunk, I express concern (again) over the picture.
"Don’t lose that picture. It looks like it is falling out" I say
"MOM! Its stuck there. I taped it. I added it to the side of my Student of the Week poster. Sister is not going anywhere. She is fine. Well she IS going to school with me but otherwise she is fine." He says with a smile that causes his freckles to spread wider across his face.
"It is a very pretty picture" I say quietly as I struggle with a lump in my throat.
"Oh yeah, my sister is a hottie. Wait till I show my friends. See you later, Mom." he says as he walks away from me towards the magnet school.
What will he say to his friends? How will he explain he has a sister but he doesn’t?
I get into my car and start to cry.
I guess it is "Take Your Sister To School" Day.