Today is Marie-Hélène’s 4th birthday. Marie-Hélène and Anne-Sophie (6-going-on-7) are the adopted daughters of our son Seth and his husband, Jean-Philippe. When our first three grandchildren were born, Rod and I lived in Hawaii. I was able to get to the east coast to help the parents, but not right away.
It just so happens that when Marie-Hélène arrived, Rod and I had moved to the east coast, and I was able to be there the next day. A few days into the visit Seth knocked on my bedroom door, asking me to take him to the E.R. He was in excruciating abdominal pain and needed to have emergency gall bladder surgery. Eighteen hours later we were back home, sans Seth’s gall bladder. It was a good thing, a God thing that I just so happened to be there at just the right time.
But here is my favorite story from that week. Anne-Sophie was so excited to have a baby sister, and told all of her friends at day-care. A few days after Seth’s surgery, the parents made a surprise visit with Marie-Hélène to Anne-Sophie’s classroom. Anne-Sophie caught sight of them, and ran to the door, shouting “Baby Sister!” The other children followed suit, and Anne-Sophie, already the big sister turned toward her classmates, and raised her hand like a policeman on traffic duty, and said in her big sister voice, “Don’t touch!”
The bonds between siblings are powerful and complicated. My oldest sister Carol often reminds me that I am the baby sister, and that I should do something about my grey hair. About three weeks before my sister Jane died, her son was able to Facetime me while visiting her. She looked really confused and it was hard for her to see the phone with the required 6’ of social distancing. But then she leaned forward and said, “Sister.” That’s the last word I heard her say in this lifetime. I imagine it might the first word I hear when I see her again.
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. (Hebrews 3:1) ~ Anne
These meditations are provided as a ministry in this time of pandemic as a ministry of St. Paul’s U. C. C.