I’ve had a lot of names for my middle sister over the years. “Margarth” because she misspelled her own name when she was seven and I, a budding adolescent, seized upon it. Then there is “Pious Peg” from when she was an altar girl, seriously attending her duties while grousing all the way to church. (This name actually enraged her so I would use it as often as fitting). “Auntie Fave” – a name we both vied for but she won; it has transmuted to “Aunt Mom” and she won again. Then there is the highly descriptive moniker “Mood Ring Momma” which she gave herself after her husband bought her a dime store ring a few years ago on vacation. Usually, however, I call her by her given name which means “pearl”.
When I looked down into the crib nearly forty years ago, I thought to myself, “Hunh.” I was hoping for a brother. I’d had to climb on a chair to peer down at her. Brown-haired, MRM was on her tummy, a little ball with her butt in the air. She looked cute. She walked on her first birthday at a park in Oregon. We shared a room for seven years. During nursery school she would regale me with tales of her imaginary friends at night, better bedtime stories than any book. Sometimes she was a pain in the patootie, like when she did not want to be dropped off at kindergarten, a chore my mother tasked me with after the first week. I would deposit her, try and distract her, and then run like hell, leaving her howling. Sometimes she would run after me and I would have to hold the bars of the school hallway shut ‘til her teacher, a truly wonderful woman, came and hauled her away. For her seventh birthday my father (!) frosted her cake purple. It was what she wanted. Tenacious.
Then we moved and each had our own bedroom. As a teenager, I did not much think about my sister. She and my younger sister MCV were each other’s friends as they were closer in age; I was “the older sister”. We would fight but she still bought me great Christmas presents (and vice versa, I might add), like the potpourri elephant from Payless Drugstore I really wanted. I let her down on many occasion but, with the fullness of time, she has forgiven me. Gracious.
Fast forward to the boyfriend/wedding/newlywed years. MRM met Wild Bill in college, about six months after I met Mr. Understanding. Wild Bill called our parents’ house at Christmas after he and MRM had been dating a short time and I asked him if he was going to marry my sister. MRM did not speak to me until Christmas day, and then, only under duress. Although contrite about my behavior, I have always been secretly pleased at my prophetic vision: MRM and I were married four months apart. She thought if we had a double wedding my parents would neither mind the expense nor notice she was a child bride. The summer before we got married we lived together and walked around Green Lake in Seattle daily. We got along very well. Good decision on the men we married and the ix-nay on the double wedding. She deserved her own day. Mood Ring Momma is the mother of two precious boys, the office manager and brains of a law firm, and cul-de-sac queen (no offense to 425Heidi). She has done well for herself. Propitious.
But of all the adjectives I can use to describe my sister the one that leaps out is LOYAL. It doesn’t end in an “ious” so I am going to have to end that literary construct just now. She’s always in my corner. MRM can shred any argument – she has a mind like a steel trap. Crunch! She has a seriously heightened sense of justice. Faithful, her still waters run deep and when I am not praying for my kids, I know she is. She has taken care of me in my dark times. Mood Ring Momma is way funnier than me. Hilarious!
Like the pearl she is named after, she started as a bit of grit and has grown more lustrous with time. She is coming out of her shell at forty, a beautiful, wise, funny, and loving sister. The world, in fact, is her oyster. Glorious!!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOOD RING MOMMA!