She’s usually the only one. The only Ryan family grandaughter in CT. For most of the year, it absolutely doesn’t bother her. She runs with the boys, plays soccer and baseball like she’s one of them, and they do well about including her. She loves them for it. She’s a girly little twerp at heart, but she loves her boy cousins with a vengeance. For most of the year, she’s good with it. But. Then Kerigan comes along and they laugh together and frolick in the sunshine, play ring-around-the-rosie, and dig in the sand at the beach. They get a little taste of what having a sister feels like. They put on their matching dresses and pretty hair things and giggle. And look at each other and giggle some more. It makes me smile, and feel thankful– a bit nostalgic, thinking of 5 little girls much like these two.
For most of the year, it doesn’t bother her, all those boys. She’s usually more than okay with it. Does just fine. Loves it. Has never complained about not having a sister. But then Kerigan has to go back to Illinois. And Nora cries. Really cries. It starts silently as she sits on the kitchen floor putting on her sneakers. She’s quiet, which is out of the ordinary. Her head is bent, hair covering her face. I lean over and ask her if she’s okay. She looks up at me, silent tears making paths down her cheeks. Then it starts. Choking sobs that make my heart ache a little when I think about it. She asks me why she can’t see Kerigan more, why we don’t fly out to IL more, why it hurts in your throat when you miss somebody. And I mention to Paul that we really need to do better about getting out there more often. Because the girls were so cute. And they had so much fun, running around in the garden, matching dresses billowing in the summer breeze. But goodbyes had to be said, tears had to be wiped away, and life had to keep moving. Nora’s already doing just fine, back to playing basketball with her brothers as I type these words. She’s more than okay with it, being with all those boys. Most of the year, it doesn’t bother her at all. Until she gets to be with her one other girl cousin in the Ryan family. Until the next time she has to say goodbye.
“Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetime, is certain for those who are friends.”
~Richard Bach, American writer