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It’s a Sister Thing


Lip Balm

July 3, 2016

Ahhh. I am drinking an ice-cold Sweet Baby Jesus! Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter following a strenuous walk with my husband Henry. My sister is downstairs making dinner. We are visiting Mom and Seamus in the country for the holiday weekend.

First of all: If you are a woman who does not have a sister, please drop everything, run to the store, and buy one.

Second of all: I am not sure I should be drinking while blogging….

“Jane Marek? Follow me, please,” the nurse called from the doorway.

Jane Marek? Follow me, please,” rang the disembodied voice behind her in clear, honeyed tones.

The nurse froze, her face still bent over the clipboard. Only her eyes moved–from side to side, and finally up and over to me. Her brow furrowed in confusion.

I stepped over the threshold and there was Gwen. She was at the checkout desk and not visible from the waiting room.

Gwen is my younger sister by 18 months.

Last week, Gwen and I scheduled skin checks. With the same dermatologist. On the same day. Back to back. Without trying.

Gwen had a mole removed for biopsy. I had a mole removed for biopsy. She waited for me in the waiting room.

When it was my turn to check out, I observed the young African American woman at the counter. The sleeves of her hot pink shirt stuck out from underneath her scrubs and perfectly matched the thick pink swirl in her otherwise dark hair. I am not normally one to effuse but the color perfectly offset the blackness of her hair and skin, creating a stunning impression.

“I love your hair. It looks so good!” I told her.

“I said the same thing!” cried a voice from the waiting area.

Gwen followed me back to my house. We decided to take a walk. She borrowed shorts and a t-shirt because, voila!, we are the same size. And, unlike days past, I will get these clothes back. Washed and folded. Within my lifetime.

If you are running out to procure your sister, don’t worry about lost time. Now is the best time. History is great and all that, but coming late to the party means you can enjoy all the benefits of sisterhood without having to recover from those early years of room sharing, name calling, hair pulling, and makeup stealing. I won’t say who did what to whom other than to say that Gwen was a snuggler and a spooner. Spooning was gross and made me sweaty. Whenever we traveled, we had to share a bed. Nobody cared if I tossed and turned next to my furnace of a sister. But I guess hers was a small offense when you consider that I once made Gwen eat an entire mouthful of gravel.

Yesterday, Gwen and my husband Henry and I climbed into our Subaru; situated Trident, the greyhound, in the back; and headed to the boondocks for the weekend.

While zooming down the interstate, Gwen and I decided we needed to compare biopsy sites. Hers was on her shin. That was easy. Mine was above my left breast, and Gwen was sitting behind me. Thus, partial nudity, gymnastics, and the removal of one Ikea brand kitty bandage ensued. Thank goodness, Henry is an excellent driver!

This was not my first biopsy by any means. So I had to show off my other biopsy sites. My situation is probably typical for a super-white European descendant and former athlete. I was thrilled that the site on my face had healed with no scarring whatsoever. This was, of course, due to the magic of Vaseline. I had followed Dr. Mole’s instructions religiously: Vaseline 24/7. Neosporin was strictly verboten.

“But I ran out of Vaseline this time,” I said, “so I kind of cheated. ”

(Cue the sheepish laughter.)

“Do you think this will work OK?” I pulled the supersized Hello Kitty lip balm out of my purse. “I just smear this on it and then cover it with a bandaid.”

Gwen didn’t shame me at all. Her response? “Yep. Because I am using the chapstick I got free at work on mine.”

We were not friends as girls. We could scarcely stand to breathe the same air. We were told we were opposites and occasionally pitted against one another.

Now women, we are friends. Sister-friends. This afternoon, we sighed the identical three-syllable “O-o-oh” when a darling fawn crossed our path. Hers began a microsecond prior to mine but we were pitch perfect.

After we arrived yesterday, Gwen and I took a walk around Mom’s property. The light and the wildflowers were too enticing to resist. Armed with a smartphone and a tablet, we set out on a serious mission to capture the flowers before the shadows grew too long. We succeeded–kind of.

Adult supervision may be required for future missions.

Oh well.

Please enjoy some examples of our brilliant photography.

The Virgin.jpg

The Virgin by Jane Marek. Be the first to tell my why I chose this name, and I will mention you in a future blog.


Buttflower by Gwen Lee.

If you want to read more about the spirited Gwen, you might like this post from the Family Rules thread.

21 responses »

  1. Wonderful to see this post pop up. I don’t have a sister, but I have a best friend of 45 years!!! Yikes. Sort of counts. A fun post and it sounds like the two of you are practically twins πŸ™‚ Excellent frame-worthy photos too!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. No sisters by birth but, thank God, many sisters-in-Christ! The image was named The Virgin because she still has her flower in tact!! Ha ha. Nice one!!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Many guys have sisters, too, although the relationships there are special for slightly different reasons. They’re still special however. Sisters should be cherished. God knows, I cherish mine.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A @ moylomenterprises

    How lovely that you and the family are all together. I don’t have a sister but have a brother 3 yrs younger with whom I fought ferociously, well, because he always started it!

    I always dreamed of having a sister but the closest thing to it was a couple close girlfriends who are now living their own lives thousands of miles away. I haven’t seen them in years and so the distance has done a fine job of breaking our once inseparable bond.

    So I’m off to find a sister, I wonder, are they available at

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Funny! My sister and I painted our bathrooms and kitchens the exact same color, separated by two summers and 180 miles…we’d never seen each other’s, but still picked the exact same color names from the paint samples. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think “The Virgin” is because of the location of the daisy, but I could be wrong. πŸ˜‰

    I wish I had a sister, but instead of buying one, through the years I’ve had three women friends who have become my heart sisters. I’m very grateful for them, and it keeps me from resenting my brother and offering to trade him for a sister. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! She has not yet been deflowered! You are the second person to get my silly sense of humor πŸ™‚
      So glad you have those wonderful friends. I have my own set of extra sisters who bring great joy, fellowship, and much raucous laughter into my life.


  7. Gwen here, and for the record, I vehemently deny that I started all the fights. Although I have to say that my memory of our childhood is not always the greatest. Hey, I’ll claim some fault if You claim some.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have a younger sister, but she lives in Arizona. I also have an older sister, but she has autism. Both are fantastic, but neither provide me with a typical sisterly relationship. I’ve been ok with that though. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You are so lucky to have a sister! As an only child I only have best friends although one of them has been my best friend since I was 10 so knows a lot about me. But I am not sure I would be the same person if I had a sister. Being an only child fosters a sense of being special and different which I have had all my life. If there were two of me I wouldn’t feel like that and I’m not sure whether I would be as ambitious creatively or professionally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess it is hard to imagine being in each other’s shoes in that regard. What I am realizing as I age is that even if I am not in frequent contact with my sister, even though we are different in many ways, and even when there are times we don’t get along, I experience a comfort in knowing there is a permanent someone “like me” out there who is kind of like my litter mate and who shares a lot of my history. We can speak in shorthand and through glances much of the time. We are connected forever. But I do think you can have a lot of that through long-time friends. My friend Hanna, of The Story of Hanna on this blog was my super close friend. We also met at age 10. It was an unbelievably wonderful friendship until that last fateful summer when things went horribly wrong.


  10. Pingback: Weekend at Mom’s – or – She Ain’t Goin’ Gentle | Family Rules

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