Tuesday, April 04, 2006

An Easter Story and Some Totally Unrelated Photos

There's a photo album that has a place of honor on my bookshelf. It's my sister's very first scrapbook. I doubt she even knows I have it.

She made it for me when she was 10. It doesn't have the fancy paper cutouts and designs that she does now in her gorgeous books, but it is an impressive collage of pictures of my babyhood, carefully selected and stuck on those old "self-stick" photo album pages.

This is the inscription in the front:

I was flipping through this book last night, and I started thinking about the year that Sheryl saved Easter.

I was seven, and we had gone to Cape Cod for the holiday. The parents had rented a townhouse that was pretty unremarkable except for the lighted closet in the second floor hallway. It was kind of like Harry Potter's room under the stair at Privet Drive, only not under the stairs. But it had a slanted ceiling and a bare lightbulb. I spent a lot of time holed up there reading Black Beauty during that vacation.

That year had been a rough one for my family. My mom had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and given six months to live. She fought it, and won, but a year of chemotherapy, a radical mastectomy, and the stress of going through all that while raising two spirited daughters was hard on my folks. They fought a lot. They probably made up a lot too, but I don't remember that part, so much.

Not to say the whole vacation was a bust. That trip was the first time I ever rode in a plane: my parents booked us a whale-watching flight in a little private plane, and I got to play "co-pilot." That was way cool.

But during the week when the shouting got loud and I retreated to my closet, Sheryl came and found me. She would drag me outside in the spring sunshine to go hunting daffodils, or she'd grab her ten-speed and set me on her old banana-seat bike and take me for a ride along the coast.

We hunted sea shells together. We played tag. She made me laugh, a lot.

When Easter morning came I ran downstairs to wake Mom and Dad. I couldn't wait to go hunting for eggs and check out my Easter basket.

But my usually early-rising parents were still in bed. The drapes were drawn tightly against the morning light. I asked about Easter. My mom snapped and said there would be no Easter baskets this year. "Easter is not about CANDY!" she said. "It's about Jesus dying for our sins. We're not doing Easter baskets anymore." And she rolled over and pulled the blankets up.

I was shocked. I'd been to Sunday School. I knew about Easter and Jesus. But baskets were tradition. It was a tough lesson to learn.

Once again, Sheryl came to the rescue. She got me dressed, and wiped away my confused tears. Together we rode down the street to a little market, where she bought me a Cadbury Cream Egg with her own money to make me feel better. Nothing soothes a wounded spirit like a Cadbury Cream Egg.

I was going to put up some cute pics from the album, but Blogger is being dumb. I'll keep trying, though.


jessica said...

What a sweet post. Sister's are great, aren't they? I enjoy my own tremendously!

Justin and Angie said...

Gosh, that was touching. Very touching. With a new baby a'cooking in my wife's belly as we speak, I can only hope my Carter boy will be half the sibling your sister was. I have mixed feelings about the gender. Sometimes I want it to be a boy becasue even though fights would be as numerous as the day is long, the bond would be twice as strong. And sometimes I wish it to be a girl so her big brother can rescue her from the woes of growing up.

Anonymous said...

What a nice story! You were lucky to have a fun big sister to have fun with and to cheer you up!
--Jen B

Rachelle said...

What a touching post and story. You have an awesome sister!

Jess said...

I'm glad that even though that was a rough time for your family, you have some memories like this from that time too. It's awesome that you and your sister are so close. And this story provides a nice counterpoint to your Crunchable article!

Bobita said...

I am fighting back the tears...all choked up over this beautiful post.

I just LOVE your sister!

This made my day!

Nikkie said...

What a touching story! You are truly blessed to have such a wonderful bond with your sister!

Heth said...

This was a beautiful post. How insightful to view that trying time through a child's eyes. Thanks for sharing Goslyn.