“Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters…” White Christmas, Irvin Berlin 1954

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

What a wonderful weekend I had filled with family, fun, happiness, celebrations, and lots of love. Oh and wine, lots of wine! My sisters and brother-in-law came to visit so we could celebrate my (older) sister’s 65th birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MELINDA!! For one month, my sisters and I are 65, 60, and 55… until I turn 61 in November. When we were MUCH younger, my sisters and I would have our picture taken professionally (if you consider Sears and Kmart Portrait Centers professional) every 5 years for our Mom. We missed the last several photo ops, but made up for it this weekend!

“Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters!”

“A sister is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.”

My sisters and I have not always had the perfect relationship. There have been arguments, struggles, and conflicts. But deep down we always knew we would be there for each other. And we have. I cannot imagine what I would have done without my sisters in my life, especially these last 2 ½ years. Admittedly, I always wanted an older brother, especially when I was in high school (you know with cute older friends?!?!?!), but that did not happen. I am now ok with that. (Like I have a choice?) Besides, my brother-in-law is a brother to me, and believe me, I am very thankful for him, and thankful he loves my sister. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY DENNIS as tomorrow (Oct. 12) is his birthday!

“Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.” Margaret Mead

My sisters and brother-in-law arrived Saturday and we spent the afternoon visiting a very busy and very good winery – Pollak. My younger daughter, the wine professional in our family, is a wine club member here and joined us. We chose a couple bottles of wine, sat outside enjoying the scenery and the wine, and visited for the better part of the beautiful afternoon. We laughed over childhood pranks, memories, and old secrets. Reminded each other of things we might have wanted to just forget! Remember, there is basically a 5 year separation in our ages that was HUGE when we were growing up, but now makes no difference.


 

“When I say I won’t tell anyone, my sister doesn’t count.”

Several of my daughter’s out of town friends were in Charlottesville for the day, so we went with her to a brewery downtown to see them. It was a perfect evening, and we decided to walk to our downtown mall and have a wonderful dinner outside. Our fun day had come to an end. But we still had Sunday!

Post dinner stroll!

“Having a sister is like having a best friend you can never get rid of. You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there.”

After brunch at my house Sunday morning, we headed to King Family Vineyards to celebrate my older sister’s birthday. My daughters and son-in-law came, as well as some of my friends who know my sister. Unfortunately, my son wasn’t able to join us. And unfortunately, the polo match was cancelled for the day, but we found a table in the shade and set up our “tailgate”. It was a beautiful, but hot (87 but felt like 92), afternoon. So much for any fall weather! Most of my sister’s birthdays have been celebrated in much chillier temperatures, which she loves, but I like the heat!

“Birthdays are made for celebrating the love you share with family and friends.”

It was so much fun sharing the weekend and celebrating with my sisters. Though we talk or text daily, it’s more special to actually be together. And we try to as often as possible. Once I found myself SOLO, I made every effort to become more involved in my family. And I cannot tell you how happy it has made me. So thankful to NOT be missing out on so much with my siblings and my kids.

“A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.”  Marion Garretty

With Mom in her current state of mind, my older sister has become the glue that holds our family together. My younger sister is full of fun and has grandbaby Jack to share with us, and me? I am the middle child, who can now appreciate being the middle. We all “miss” mom. Yes she is still living and knows us and loves us, and enjoys being with us, but is not quite able to be the parent anymore. She now asks us if we have seen her Momma lately and do we think she is still in Greensboro. Our answer? Well, she is not moving anywhere any time soon! (Our grandmother is buried in Greensboro.) And as I have said before, no matter how old you are, you always need and want your momma. To listen to you, give you advice, and love on you with a “Mom hug” that is so comforting. Even our mom is looking for her momma. But that is what siblings are for. We never leave each other without big hugs!

After my family and friends left the vineyard Sunday, my younger daughter and I cleaned up and decided to get one more bottle of wine and sit for a bit, catch up with each other, and enjoy the late afternoon. We covered lots of topics, and of course talked about the blog (she is my editor). When I was telling her my thoughts that included the part of missing my mom, she said the sweetest thing to me. “Mom I cannot imagine not being able to talk to you.” Be still my heart. You know I adore my kids.

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Late afternoon…

I am thankful for the close relationship my kids share with me and with each other. I have always tried to foster a mutual respect, love, and friendship between my kids. I truly wanted them to like each other and be friends as well as siblings. And they do. They stay in close touch with each other, and support each other as well. I know it was hard for them when their parents’ marriage ended. As much as my life changed, and I realized that my future as I had always imagined was not going to happen, the same thing happened to my kids. Their family “broke up” as well – no longer was it mom AND dad. Now it is mom OR dad. That breaks my heart for my kids. But life goes on and we adjusted. And I try to keep things as normal as possible for them.

If you have a sibling, make every effort to keep in close touch. Support each other. Never take that relationship for granted. One thing you should always be able to count on, is your family. Luckily for me, I know without a doubt that if I need them, my kids, my siblings, and my brother-in-law would be there in an instant. Just look how they have supported me and come to my rescue so many times. Can you say that? If not, you need to work on that relationship now, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“Family is like music, some high notes, some low notes, but always a beautiful song.”

Best,

Leslie

PS – Know what the latest craze in killing bugs is – especially flies and mosquitoes (which are HUGE in NC and SC)? SALT GUNS! Yep… uses table salt and will blast an insect without any mess or smashing guts. And as I learned this week, several of my friends have them and love them. No more fly swatters. Hmmmm… should I get one?

 

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