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Carine Fabius Headshot

The Sister Thing Can Be So Cool

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My sister Chantal is the most fabulous dancer on Earth. When she dances, she enters the music in such a serious way that everyone around her starts to laugh because it's so much fun to watch her. I was in New York recently, visiting with the family when we all decided to go over to the nursing home where her mother-in-law resides. She's in an Alzheimer's haze but we wanted to help her celebrate her birthday even though she doesn't remember. We were all sitting around chatting with each other when, at one point, Chantal's son said, "Hey, mom, do the Mini Mouse dance."

"Oh, Mini Mouse? Yeah, watch this," she said. And then she got up and demonstrated. I wish I could describe it but I can't. All I can tell you is that we all cracked up big time, as did her mother-in-law, who until then had been staring into space.

My sister is also the most generous person on Earth. If she had Bill Gates' money, she'd be dangerous. It's like she's Japanese. If you happen to compliment her on something, if she likes you, there's nothing you can do about it; it will be yours.

"Hey, what a great bag!" I said when she walked in the door the first night I was there.
"Oh, I'll have to give it to you!" she said. And she did. I couldn't stop her. The night before I was to leave, there it was on my bed with a note that said, "Enjoy!"

When we took our mother out for a spa day, Chantal insisted on buying me the horrendously expensive facial serum the staff was pushing on all customers working hard to pay for horrendously expensive services in order to de-stress. You know, the kind you treat yourself to when you're under financial stress. And let me stress here that my sister is not rich.

My sister also tells it like it is. If I did something heinous, she'd be all in my face about it. Thank God my heinous acts are kept to a minimum because it can be brutal. But it's not like she'd turn her back on you or anything. Oh, no. She gives you a lot of shit, but she supports you nonetheless. I imagine if I were in jail for something vile, she'd bail me out. If I was being unreasonable about a situation--you know, family drama type thing--she'd be the first to give me the third degree; so much so that I'd be cornered into telling her to back off already! The problem is she's usually right.

We couldn't be more different. I'm self-employed in the arts; she works the corporate grind. I live in jeans, T-shirts, cargo pants and Converse sneakers; she's comfortable in lovely, bright poofy skirts, tailored tops and classic styles. I kinda love that about her.

To my everlasting shame and horror, she used to support Bush and the Iraq war but this time she voted for Obama. This has endeared her to me even more. (I don't care about all the naysayers, I still think The Chessplayer has a plan with an endgame in sight.)

The sister thing can be tricky. They often think they have us down when they don't. I'm a sister and I can vouch for those ridiculous assumptions we often make about those closest to us. The sister thing can be full of drama, jealousy, resentment, angst, bitterness and the stuff of Hollywood horror movies. But when it works, it's so sweet, you want to hug it close to you and hope it never goes away.

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