Somewhere out there.

My Mom always wished that she'd had a sister, so when she gave birth to Katie, she was thrilled for us both. Sisters! Matching pink outfits and barbie playtimes and (eventually) earring and shoe trades. She never bargained for the kind of bitchy fighting that went down in High School. No one sews ornamental pillows about those kinds of sisters. But in the end we were close and we really still are.

I was six when my parents told us they were having another baby. That was Steve. And, if you know Steve, then you know what kind of craziness arrived in the family 9 months later.

Then, we were three.

The relationship we have is something my parents couldn't have dreamed of. Mom hoped for sisters; she practically got triplets. Poor Chris gets dizzy trying to figure out the number of nicknames we have for each other. The two of them are the sole reason I want to have three kids one day and if my kids have half the relationship we have, I will have put a metric ton of goodness into the world.

It thrills me to no end that Chris likes my family. When you come from a family of people you love, you want new loves to fit right in. That's important to me and hearing them all laugh together is kind of the best thing ever.

I traveled to DC this weekend to spend some quality time with Kate and Steve, just the three of us for old time's sake. And it was awesome and one of the best parts was sitting around in Katie's kitchen talking and another great part was when we didn't get a parking ticket for leaving the car in a grocery parking lot for a few hours and yet another great part was when we were watching the worst movie in history and it broke and we got free tickets. Also, the apple picking. Cause we didn't just pick apples. We also... well... I guess I'll just show you:

These took SO many tries and takes. No one looks flattering in any of them. But there was so much counting to three and dodging apples as they landed on our heads and avoiding picking up the sticky, bee-infested ones from the ground. There were hoots and hollers and it was a really good day. (More photos here.)

After I left them last night, I got the traditional "you made me feel homesick!" text from Kate.

And well, I guess they made me feel a little homesick too. That's the thing about family, the way it sneaks up on you when you don't see each other every day. The way that half of you is always somewhere else, with them.

And sometimes it feels like half of me is still in Paris and half of me is with my family and half of me is studying literature and half of me is vacationing in Galway. And another half of me is in Portland and another half is with my Nana somewhere and another half is at a huge party filled with all of the amazing friends I've ever made.

But what about the half you retain? The leftover part of you that slogs through the subway and wrecks itself at work and cleans the dishes on a Monday night and gets a tiny thrill out of it? The magic, it seems to me, is that that half is fueled by all those other halves, nourished by the memories and the dreams and the inevitables that exist somewhere, out there, in the world.

At least, this is what I tell myself when I feel tired.


Puebs said...

Sweet jesus..if I start weeping in my cube on a Tuesday morning, people are going to think I lost it.

Ditto :)

Avi said...

Whoah, a surprise sad ending.

Poignant. Well done.

SNiebler said...

Jen, I loved this post!! We can't wait to see you in Wisconsin :-)