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Jennifer Meer Headshot

The Sister She'll Grow Up to Be

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In one of the most famous moments of my favorite movie, It's A Wonderful Life, George Bailey's brother, Harry Bailey the war hero, bursts into his house, surprising his brother in his moment of need. George is stunned as Bert the cop proclaims, "Fool flew all the way up here in a blizzard!"

I am thinking about this silly little exchange as I look at the two feet of snow on the ground and check my phone, obsessively watching the weather channel. We have hardly dug out of the last storm and more snow is rapidly approaching. Caught in the crosshairs of this winter nightmare is my oldest sister, who is trying to fly across the country with her entire family to meet my new baby.

Damn fool is trying to fly all the way up here in a blizzard.

Her plane has mechanical trouble and is delayed and for several hours they are stuck on the tarmac. They arrive, jet lagged, in the middle of the night at JFK. Early the next day they wake up, hastily pack up again and drive two hours north to find us and beat the next round of snow. Though they are exhausted they rally with hugs and kisses and plenty of baby snuggles to go around. My little Hope curls up on her shoulder as if she always belonged there, carefully reaching her fingers around her shirt and sleeping peacefully that way for hours. For some reason I can't quite put my finger on, though my baby is more than two weeks old, I only just now feel as though my family is truly complete.

I have two sisters. One who lives just minutes from me and one who lives on the other side of the country. At any moment of any day, my heart is always with both of them. It is a bond built upon shared experiences. It comes from growing up together, from family vacations together, and holidays and knowing that when you shake the box and it doesn't rattle, it's probably the night of Hanukkah that means you're going to be getting pajamas. Or remembering that Grandpa smelled like sawdust and stardust mints. Or that Mom always had her nails done in colors like buy-me-a-cameo and blushing bride.

Wherever we are, we speak in shorthand with each other that reminds us that we understand how hard we cried when we left each other for college, how hard we laughed at our bachelorette parties, or the surge of love we felt when we held each other's babies for the first time. We share a heart. It is a love that is not linear, is relatively boundless, and trumps logic and distance. Which is why it makes sense for her to fly across the country for three short days in the middle of three different snowstorms to pour me my first glass of wine in ten months and cuddle my baby. Not even 3,000 miles can stop that. Because that's what sisters do. Damn fools.

In just a few short days she'll be gone again. Back to sunny California. I wish she could pack me and the baby up and take us with her, to somewhere where there is warmth that doesn't make me feel all cold and cracked and dry on the inside and out, the way this winter is starting to make me feel. I push that feeling down and focus on for now.

For now the fire is crackling and the snow is falling outside. The wine is poured. I am snuggled up with my girls -- the newest and oldest parts of my heart. Grateful for the siblings I have and the one my new baby will grow into. Much like George Bailey, I really do feel like the richest man in town.

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