I text my sister A three words- ‘Can you call?’- and the phone rings within seconds. It’s 11am and my day is unfolding into that of what A and I call, in a simpering American accent (I’ve no idea why the accent) a ‘Busy Mom’. As in, the cliche of a frazzled woman bookended by squalling small people, possibly not dressed at noon, fending off tantrums and bodily fluids at every turn. On this Busy Mom day I have abandoned an(other) anti-nit crusade on Leila, to tend to Asher who is bawling in the porch. I had a shit night’s sleep and yes, I’m in pyjamas. These are the- piffling, really- problems of my day, yet I’m in tears. And it’s my sister I call on, to speak soothing words and tell me I’m doing well even if, really, I’m making a big drama out of nothing at all.
She’s currently staying for a couple of days, and Leila voiced my feelings too when she leapt onto A’s lap today and enthused ‘I LOVE being with you!’. A visit from Auntie A is as good as a spa break for me. Not just because she thrills Leila by taking her for a babycino (‘just the two of us!’), and understands her on a deeply instinctive level, what with Leila being eerily similar to A as a child. Not just because she is delighted to hold the baby, and does kick-ass amazing things like book me in for a salon blow dry. But also because she’s kind and fun and loyal and great company, and saves my sanity on a weekly basis.
One of the many sad things about losing our youngest sister Helen is that A no longer gets to be a big sister. She was the best big sister ever (myself included). But that’s just a technicality, really. There’s no ‘was’ about it. Despite being four years my junior, and being one of the top little sisters ever to exist, she’s also, time after time, the best big sister to me.