Love Your Sister

Love Your Sister, Robin Botie, photoshopper in Ithaca, New York, photographs her sisters' reflections.“I’m your sister too.” Those were the last words my sister Wendy said to me. Months ago.

Then, this past Saturday evening, driving back from the Memoir Workshop given by Margaret and Marion Roach Smith, I thought of my own sister. Not the one who’s The Doctor in Massachusetts, who I always write about and photograph. No. The other one. Wendy, The Beautiful sister who lives in Florida. The one I, The Artist sister, got mad at and stopped talking to.

At Saturday’s workshop, I had sat between the two Roach sisters for hours with my head turning right and left like at a tennis match. Each sister easily bounced off and supported what the other said and together they fed the participants great information as well as a hearty lunch. How did they do that? I asked myself afterwards. And then I remembered Wendy.

We only see each other once or twice a year during family reunions. So I was mad she cancelled out for this year. She’s the sister who, when we get together, gets up early to walk with me before breakfast. And whenever we go shopping, whatever she tries on looks so good on her that I buy it for myself.

She reads my blogs, follows me on Facebook, and has always “been there” for me. She dropped everything and flew to New York when my daughter died. But I have not “been there” for her.

Ten years younger, she is the baby but I’m the one who was never big enough to forgive her for drawing on my books with a red crayon when she was five years old. Maybe I still haven’t forgiven her for all the attention she got when she was born.

The thing is sisters should stick together. The stories I hear of families going for years without talking terrify me. I don’t want to be like that. Life is too short.
So I’m sorry, Wendy. I will try to be a better sister. This one’s for you.

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16 thoughts on “Love Your Sister

  1. Pingback: Sunrise on my Face | ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE - EVEN JOY

  2. SusanB

    Robin, this was so gutsy, and sad and I totally relate to it. My family history and dynamics are not normal by any means. My sisters (2) and I are ridiculously not careful with our precious relations. My son does not have his brother and one of my sisters doesn’t talk to me. I’m so ashamed of our behavior. I wish you the best of luck with mending your relationships for now and always.

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Well, it’s not always the time to mend relationships but for the future, there’s always hope. When things are not ideal (are things ever ideal?) there’s always the possibility for small positive changes, some day. It’s sad when communication is lost but there is only so much one can do about it – communication is exchange – and if the other is not ready or careful, it can’t be. That’s why we have friends. Thankfully there are friends. I wish you many friends and much love.
      And thank you for responding.

      Reply
  3. Marion Roach Smith

    How lovely to read this here. Thank you for the remarks about us, but more than that, thank you for the reminder that sisters are there for us. Lovely. Write on, Robin.

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Thank you, Marion. And thank you for the inspiration. Driving back the four hours after your workshop, I was warm, well-fed, happy, and eager to write some more. Cheers!

      Reply
  4. Jill Swenson

    I didn’t know you had another sister! The Roach sisters’ worked their magic in this memoir writing workshop. Great insights.

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Hi Jill. I actually, as per your advice, did find ways to bring my other sister into the memoir. And I need to thank you because I met the Roach sisters as a result of meeting Lynne Trudeau (?) who I met because of the writing group you set up. Anyway, you also know the magic of sisters. So good to hear from you. Cheers!

      Reply
  5. Lynne Taetzsch

    Sisters are precious! I got to spend a week with my sisters recently–so thankful for them. I have good relationships with my three brothers, but there is nothing like a sister. Yes, we fought when we were little and went through some rough patches, but as I get older I appreciate them more and more and more and more and . . . .

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Yeah, I know what you mean, Lynne. It’s funny how they’re not at all like I would design them, not at all like my friends. And yet, in many ways they are my BEST friends. Three brothers? OMG I wanted brothers so much when I was growing up. What a family, Lynne. Lots of sibling love and appreciation. Cheers!

      Reply
  6. Robin

    Hi Rah,
    This entry brought me to tears. I always loved Wendy, having watched her grow up from the time she was a little one. Needless to say you and Laurie, my childhood BFFs, ( (and of course your Mom) live in my heart for always. To witness love and forgiveness and to imagine a new closeness and connection between you and Wendy is deeply moving and truly you are a power if example for all of us. Robin

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Cheers, Rah. You always were my best fan. It’s kind of strange, living so much of my life exposed on my online home, this blog site. It’s like showering in a glass stall in front of a camera. But I’m getting used to it, even getting to love it. And besides, it keeps me honest. So I guess I better phone Wendy tonight.

      Reply
  7. Jan Rhodes Norman

    What a great post! Yes, Wendy has always been a good sister. It’s hard to let the early childhood issues go but how lucky you are to have each other! I love the photo with your Mom mirrored in the background!

    Reply
    1. Gladys Botie

      Your blog today made me so happy and proud of you. The relationship between you and your sisters is my greatest reward. It makes me believe that your father and I must have done something right in our tenuous marriage. I love you all three unconditionally!

      Reply
      1. Robin Botie Post author

        Hi Mom. Sorry I forgot to call yesterday. I was busy seeing Annette and her friends off, as you can see, and then writing about it. Still haven’t actually heard from Wendy so I’ll be phoning her tonight. Keeping good tabs on Laurie as well. Thank you for giving me sisters.

        Reply
    2. Robin Botie Post author

      Hi Jan. Actually that’s my other sister in the background. Mom was sleeping in the bedroom behind the mirror though, and my image was reflected as well, so I guess it’s a family portrait, sort of. Yes, Wendy has been a good sister and I miss her. Phone call time. So good to hear from you, my busy friend. Cheers!

      Reply

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