Posts Tagged ‘sisters’

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Mug Shot

My sister is seven years younger than me.  Yes, she is a grown woman, and the mother of two children, but even so, she will always be my younger sister, and I will always advocate for her like a mother.

I wish we lived closer to each other, and never so much as I did last week when I got this text from her.

That was Wednesday.  On Thursday, I checked in and she had spent 4 hours in the ER on Wednesday night getting fluids and nausea medicine. Did they check for appendicitis?  I asked.  She wasn’t sure.  My gut was telling me something, but I live in South Louisiana, and she is in Austin, TX.  How could I tell her that the ER had been wrong?

What I did tell her was to get in touch with her regular doctor.  She did.  They gave her an appointment for Friday morning.  Are you kidding me?! The mother in me was yelling inside my head.  I asked, “Did you tell them your symptoms? Promise me if the pain gets more severe, you will insist on an appointment today!”

Friday came.  Her husband and son packed up to leave for Louisiana to go to the LSU football game.  Their daughter, my niece, attends LSU.  Beth told him to go ahead with his plans, and she would let him know what the doctor said.

Her appointment was mid-morning.  I got a text at 12:10 PM:

The CT scan took forever.  I didn’t hear from her again until after school around 4 PM.  The diagnosis was appendicitis.  I broke down.  I wanted to get on the next flight to Austin, but I knew that was unrealistic. Instead, I got in touch with her best friend. She assured me she was going to be able to help. I talked to my people (my husband, daughter, and mother).  They all advised that she was in good hands, and there was nothing more I could do.

My brother-in-law turned around and headed back home.  She was alone, but he would be there when she woke up.

My worry turned to anger. I’m still trying to deal with that side of it.  Beth is home and feeling sore, but she will recover.  She told me that I “advocate like a mother,” a slogan a friend of hers uses in her advocacy for her trisomy 18 child.

My sister will be fine, but I’ve realized with this incident how fiercely I care about her, as if she were my own daughter.  And I will always “Fight like a Mother!”


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Poetry Friday round-up is with Amy at The Poem Farm.

I have birthing babies on my mind.  Today is my baby’s birthday.  My youngest daughter, Martha, is 28 years old.  I was recently telling her birth story to my oldest daughter who is expecting my first grandchild in December.  Since her best friend delivered on Sunday, three weeks early, Maggie is getting nervous about what her own birth story will be.

I read Barbara Crooker’s interview at Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. 

She wrote an ekphrastic poem about a Matisse painting:

I came back to Paris free of the Louvre’s influence
and heading for color.
~Henri Matisse

“It’s like being back in the womb, isn’t it, these walls of pink,
this floor one rose shade deeper? I think about my middle
daughter, five months pregnant. Her baby‘s grown
from an orange seed to a green olive to a plum. Now
it’s the size of a boneless chicken breast. What is it
about babies that makes us think of food?” (Read full text here)

There’s an app for following the growth of a baby called The Bump.  Maggie is at 26 weeks and according to The Bump, the baby is “as big as Kale”! His eyes are forming and will soon open.  He even has eyelashes.  The miracle of pregnancy is fascinating. (And a little scary, but we won’t talk about that today.)

This morning with all this on my mind while I was walking, I thought of a poem to tell Martha’s birth story.  This is a first draft, but I like how I could capture such a big event in a poem.  What big events could you capture in a poem?  Poems are not small; they are concentrated, like the womb, holding tight to something too big to understand.

September 14, 1990

A Birth Story

You were so late
I thought I’d be pregnant forever,
the distance between the second and the fourteenth
full of expectancy.

That Friday morning, the doctor said,
“We need to induce.”
No! I cried. My babies come naturally.
But naturally was not what you had in mind.

A long day of “methods” to start a labor–
enema, cervical massage, break the water–
finally a Pitocin drip. Seven PM,
the contractions kicked in,
                     pushing you out into the world,

At my back, Gladys exclaims,
“Something is happening here.”
In the corner, the nurse cries,
“She was only 4 centimeters!”

And your father, in my face, blowing air
“Breathe with me.”
You came quickly,
sliding elegantly into the doctor’s
Wait-let-me-get-my-gloves-on hands.

Perfect and round,
a hefty eight pounds, three ounces,
Friday’s child, loving and giving,
a gift to our world and to me.


–Margaret Simon (draft) 2018

A new sister! Sept. 15, 1990

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