Sisters

  Therese, Kate and Lily – Summer 2010

 

There are answers a parent has time to prepare.

Where do babies come from?

Why do people have to die?

Should I get a tattoo?

 

Perhaps I should have been ready for Kate’s double-whammy Kindergarten question on why she didn’t have siblings and would there be any in the future. But I wasn’t.  Since her dad and I were separated at the time, I was pretty sure of the right response. Still, there was enough uncertainty and hope floating around to make me pause.

And grace put that pause to good work.

I was told to tell her that she already had sisters and brothers…they just didn’t live at our house.  And that more babies would be born who were hers, too.  Her job was to go out into the world and find them…for both of us.  And that she would know when she had. She would just know.

 As in so many things, Kate does great work in the family-finding department. And the proof is as close as Therese.

Kate and Therese met at the beginning of sixth grade, that surreal time known as middle school. With their high school years bookended by the shootings at Columbine as freshmen, and 9/11 as seniors, these were girls who grew up fast. And I was lucky to be there—for the good days (many) and the bad nights (few). Along with the girls’ relationship came a loving extended family that was a steady, clear source of comfort during some dark times. Plus the skills of an amazing navigator! Twice, the girls and I road tripped to California to visit my brother for spring break.  I might still be driving around Los Angeles if Therese hadn’t proved herself The Amazing Map Woman.

Yesterday afternoon, I was honored to be part of the celebratory crew that witnessed Therese’s graduation from Regis University’s School of Nursing. The fact that she completed the grueling, fast-track BSN program while working as a CNA in University Hospital’s neurosciences unit made the achievement all the richer.

My Iowa family has come to love Therese, too, over these past 15 years. She traveled with us to my mom’s last summer for the Lily Love Fest. Yesterday morning, I told Mom “our other girl” was graduating, how much Kate had hoped to be here for the ceremonies, and that I’d promised her I would “attend for two.”

To which Mom replied, “Make that three.”

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