Thursday, November 29, 2007


My parents got married in the late 1940's. Ireland, back then, was steeped, to saturation point, in the teachings of the Catholic Church. The Church dictated that contraception was a SIN, that you would be flying in the face of your creator if you even attempted to control the size of your family and would, eventually, end up in the Hot Place. Hence, the rabbit-like reputation that the Irish had for decades. I suspect my parents just got lucky.

They had three children. My sister, my brother and me.

My sister and I, being the obliging, amenable creatures that we are, arrived promptly and without undue disturbance.

But, my brother's birth was premature, difficult and resulted in oxygen deprivation, we think. It wasn't really a suitable topic for discussion with the children.

Being the youngest, I don't remember his early years but I do remember him from about the age of 6 or 7. He was different. It was hard to understand him. But I did understand his absolute adoration of his older sister, Yaya. He couldn't pronounce her name properly so Yaya it was, for years. He loved her unconditionally, with the purest simplicity. He followed her around like a lonesome puppy, wanting to feel her presence beside him, wanting her to go for walks with him, just wanting to be close to her, to be in her orbit. All the time, pure love emanating from his face. And she loved him back. Not in a sloppy, sentimental, patronising way. But in a loving, caring, kind, tolerant, sisterly manner.

And of course, I was jealous. I wanted her to notice me. But I was 6 years younger and a complete pain in the butt. So, I had to wait a few years.

But, now, and that's the only time that really matters, I have a sister that I love with all of my heart and soul. I love her scattiness, her stoicism, her laughter, her sentimentality, her honesty. I love her courage and her spirit. I love the very bones of her. And she loves me too.

Yaya, thank you for loving me.


Wanderlust Scarlett said...


My sister is my best friend. My brother still 'that doggone boy'... but both are as precious as air to me.

I'm so glad you have them too.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Isabelle said...

Desperately catching up with blogs and found a very rich seam here - what a very touching collection, from your handsome son to your brother (do you still have him?) to your sister (I WANT A SISTER!).

I must stop reading blogs and go and tidy up dishes. Alas.

Molly said...

That's a lovely pair of rose-tinted glasses you've got, Rise! I feel positively saintly right now. Everyone should have a sister like you; someone who loves them unconditionally, unqualified by impatient sighs and rolling eyes; someone who sees even their faults in a positive light! You do. Those feelings are mutual. We got lucky I guess.

mjd said...

This is oh so true,"But, now, and that's the only time that really matters." I think that your sister is rather nice, and she seems to have a lovely sister.

Tanya Brown said...

A lovely, pure post.

sMC said...

could I please be Yours and Yaya's adopted sister. Please.

meggie said...

What a lovely post.
It brought tears to my eyes, for many reasons. Some of them sisters, & some brothers- of mine.

Diana said...

That's lovely. I have 2 sisters and a brother but none of us are at all close. It's sad.

riseoutofme said...

wanderlust ... I'm glad you have this connectedness too ... it is so primal and enriching.

isabelle ...thank you for your kind comment and yes we do still have our brother ... he lives an independent life (thanks to our mother) and has lots of people looking out for him.

molly ... got the glasses same place as you!

mjd ... thank you ...

tanya ... I can't tell lies about her! She is UNIQUE.

birdy ... But of course!

meggie ... thank you ... funny the depths of emotions that siblings can unearth ...

diana ... I'm sorry you don't have this closeness ... maybe its not too late to start?