One of my sisters just got engaged. And I’m very happy for her. I hope that this is the love she has been waiting for. I hope that this marriage lasts (her fiance is a double-divorcer, just recently annulled). I hope that she is happy. She will be moving from New Mexico to LA and, between the time that she moves here until she gets married, she will be living with one of my other sisters, in what she happily calls “homemaker boot camp”.
And I am scared. My sisters are all very much older than I and I frequently feel that we grew up in different centuries, not just different generations. It is very difficult for me to watch my sisters, all of them college graduates, act like unwashed babymakers. And the fact that #5 (yes, we do refer to each other by number) is so anxious to learn from #4 how to “make dinner, clean house, and change diapers, all at the same time!” really creeps me out.
Only one and a half of my sisters have succeeded in convincing me that they chose, of their own free will (like feminists) to be mothers. Of them, the whole number (that would be #3) is a do-it-all soccer mom. She has four kids who each have their own activities and she somehow manages to deal with them without losing her personality. I don’t know if she has any hobbies or if she does what they might be, but she seems to be the kind of person who would pursue her hobbies if she wanted to. The half point goes to #4, who is my favorite sister and always seemed to me to be the manifestation of Mary (the Mother of God). So I suppose it should be no surprise to me that she became a mother. But occassionally, I see a sadness creep in when she thinks about what might have been. I’m sure she would no more trade for my life than I would for hers, but I wish her happiness.
The remaining sisters, #s 1 and 2 (who are both really #1, but for our purposes, we will give them numbers) rarely seem to have a personality apart from their children. And that scares me and that makes me sad. One (#1) was convinced by her husband not to finish her dissertation and so never completed her doctorate in one of two subjects I’ve ever known her to be excited about (the other was Shakespeare). Now, it might well be argued that she would have no use for a degree in the Classics, but that’s not really the point from where I’m standing. The other (#2), while she completed two post-collegiate degrees, also seems incapable of having a conversation about herself without hinging her feelings on her children and husband. Maybe it’s because I’m a selfish whore, but when you ask me about my life, I will tell you about my life. If you ask me about my husband’s I will tell you about his. Now, of course, they overlap. But not everything I do has to do with him…
#5 is the sister who told me, after confessing that she just discovered the hideous expression “metrosexual” (which my husband and, really, my “type” most certainly is), that her ideal man is the Marlboro Man. I hope that she is truly happy being the Little Woman to her Marlboro Man (and he really is, ex-Marine & all). I hope that she understands that this will curtail her world travels (she’s still got two continents on me) and that she’s okay with that. I hope she’s as good a mother as she is a sister (except, you know, less susceptible to teasing); she always was a good babysitter.
I had brunch with #2 (Ms. I’m So Glad You Quit Your Job To Focus On Your Marriage, Isn’t It Great To Have Food On The Table When Your Husband Comes Home) yesterday. It was very “there but for the Grace go I”. Few of my sisters (and certainly not my mother) ever seem happy with the lives they have chosen. Since I am, I feel that I should help them somehow…but I don’t really know how. Maybe the best is to be an example.