Although much of my life lately has revolved around cameras or photographs, I somehow managed to go on a week’s vacation to visit my parents in Phoenix and not take a single photo till I was a half hour into my drive back home. While I also spent time with my sister and her family, once again, no photos. I really can’t figure this out, she even has two teenagers with cell phones and plenty of ‘selfie’ capabilities. I was so READY, I even had a current haircut and clothes that matched, but was so busy talking to everyone that I never even thought about photos.
My sister, Cindi, and I have discovered that the older we get, the more alike we are becoming. We didn’t really grow up together; since she is fourteen years younger than I am, I was leaving for college just as she became old enough to remember me. Somehow, though, we’ve grown more and more alike. Our faces resemble each other, and we have identical haircuts, laughs and hand gestures. We also use the same phrasing, and are both nit-picky, find-every-nickel bookkeepers that love to stay late at work just to balance something to the penny. If I hear one of our voices on a tape recording, like a voice-mail, I can’t even tell any more which one of us is talking.
We have so much fun when we meet up at family get-togethers. I hesitate to call them family reunions, because that sounds like 30 or 40 people to me. Our family is pretty small, just my brother and sister, their mates, and two kids each, three for me. We’re so lucky to still have our parents, but don’t have close cousins or much other extended family.
We came from Boston and upstate New York, and our family moved west to Colorado in 1971, leaving the East Coast pretty much for good. Cindi was four at the time, so never really knew the East at all, and was born after both grandfathers and one grandmother were gone, as were both of my mother’s sisters, and two of my father’s brothers. These were all family members that my brother and I knew well, so it is sort of like my sister grew up in a different family, AND a different place and time.
I hadn’t ever thought of it that way till we were talking on my latest visit to Phoenix. I had gone away to college, a major life change, only months after our family moved to Colorado, a move that set up their life differently in a less extended-family kind of way.
While my brother and I had a childhood filled with relatives and related stories, my sister had a completely different family experience, in the same family! She had lots of great memories too, although none of grandparents or big family holidays and gatherings. She might have had more of my parents’ time or attention than my brother and I had growing up. (I wouldn’t necessarily have wanted more parental attention when I was in high school, come to think of it, so I’m not sure that was a ‘plus’.) She went to a ski academy in Utah for high school, and my parents were involved in her skiing and activities.
Where my brother and I spent Sundays and holidays at our grandparents’ house with the aunts and uncles, she spent them with other friends and parents, and a lot more time skiing! They also bought a camper and toured the west, something that I still haven’t gotten enough of.
Cindi and I also discovered last week that we had each purchased the exact same new smartphone only weeks before, same color, same extra protective case, same phone plan and sale price, and same choices of screen savers, just another of our “twin sisters of different families” stories.
This is a real bonus for me, because I’ve discovered that I now have a smartphone instructor at my fingertips, as long as I can remember how to get in touch with her. This is the greatest advantage of our age difference, Cindi knows how to USE all the technology that I just wonder at. And she is a patient teacher, a trait we do NOT share, unfortunately! If only we lived closer…
It was a fun visit to Phoenix, in any case, and my parents are doing well. It is Mom’s 87th birthday this week, I wish I could be there, but last week’s visit was great!
Happy Birthday to Mom!