as we drive across another stretch of Kentucky with the sun about to rise and the smell of Mitchley’s coffee rousing us, we turn our thots from reconciliation with our father to the reunion with our little sister. the fog that lies over these rolling Kentucky hills is an apt metaphor for the uncertainty yesterday held. but just as we rise up out of the fog, so did our experience with him, as do our aspirations for today.
the sisters beat us to the experience, of course, because that’s just how they are. so today it’s our turn to meet this sweet, blonde “little girl” (a decade behind Mitch) and her daughter.
for me, having sisters was never something I considered. maybe that’s bcz i’ve had so many “sister” friends all my life or maybe I was just always longing for a brother. at any rate, I now have THREE sisters and I’m just giddy at the thot of it. the two I know are nurturing, wise, and grounded. their spirits belie any hurt they may have experienced having not known the father we all share.
and now thoughts turn to the baby of
our “growing” family. I’m told she may have had the toughest life of us all. multiple men in her mother’s life. poverty. teen mom. abusive men in her life. I know she has other siblings besides us that she has always known.
and yet when I have seen her pictures with the sister, there is. sparkle in her eyes.
the same sparkle her sisters share.
the same sparkle even in Mitchley’s eyes now and then (even tho he’s not a sparkle kinda guy).
the very same sparkle I saw in our father’s eyes last night as we enjoyed a pizza together last night. his life has been hard. he has hurt so many people. he carries so much regret.
yet his eyes showed a deep, sincere love. each time he spoke, his voice carried the trace of an anxious hope that we would come to have relationship with him–dare even love him. he relished the experience. and I felt a kind of joy that there, with my brother, i was able to begin to validate his hope even as i searched his eyes for the love of a father I have never known.
as the miles pass and the sky brightens, the Universe just now serves us up–via XM radio–a melancholy reminder of someone who allowed his demons to mar the portraits of his life.
of Vincent’s stars, Don McLean spoke:
“for they could not love you, but still your love was true”
And I pause to consider my own experience. some dark, starless nights to be sure. but those paintings fade in the glimmer of the constellations in my starry, starry night: the multitude of people the Universe has sent to love me. a vigorous adopted mother, a perseverent biological mother, loyal aunts, a graceful wife, resilient sons, brothers, sisters, a loving man beside me, and a host of friends. they are the stars reflected in my eyes; their splendor, I know, must be something to behold. they are the reason the portrait of my life will not be regarded with regret but rather joy.
so…as we are minutes away from meeting our sister, I contemplate whether she will today reflect the same sparkle I have seen in the eyes of our other siblings and father. can we be a star in her night sky…
…as she is sure to be in ours.