The Rest of the Story

I am not sure why I am having such a hard time writing about this.

It’s much easier to talk about paint, but perhaps that’s not what’s best for the soul.


It’s too early for leaf peeping.

We were in Vermont to see my sister, six months into her new life in a whole new world.

To tell you the truth I mostly didn’t want to drag ass all the way across the country to the middle of nowhere.  When you fly United with a two and half year old you learn just what it means to freeze time.  There’s a part of me that will always be trapped in a two by two window seat wondering where on the plane my husband and son are and composing an angry letter to the powers that be in my head.  And when my alarm went off at 4 AM the morning of our flight I very carefully considered each and every scenario that might allow me to crawl back in bed and call the whole damn thing off.

But this was a commitment that I knew I couldn’t back out of.  There’s something in me that cannot say no to anyone who wants to see my son, any family member especially, and it’s no different for my sister.  She deserves to have us in her life, no matter the cross country treks involved.

Why am I dragging this out so onerously?  Get to the point, Elizabeth.

Vermont charmed me, despite my hard won reserves.  There’s only so many picturesque barns you can throw my way before I fold. My sister has lost eighty pounds.  She has a sunny warm cozy room with a view.  She has a boyfriend.  She makes breakfast every Saturday morning for her house.  She gathers eggs and milks cows and weeds.  She can felt and weave and make bread.  She has friends and family and manners.  Someone braids her hair almost every day and buys her pink sweaters and makes sure she flosses and the happiness beams out of her as though she is lit from within.

My feelings about my sister are complicated, because they are tied up with my feelings about my mother, my friends, my husband, my son, my father, my grandmother, my in laws, and Ben Stiller.

But at some point none of that shit really matters. No matter what kind of complex I’m working on today,  on a farm somewhere in the great state of Vermont, there’s my sister, making brick oven pizza from scratch, pulling up potatoes, picking out DVD’s for movie night.  Happy.

There’s nothing much more to say than that.  At the end of the day, Annie is not a lesson to be learned, or a good story tied up with a neat bow like a package.  She is not a social experiment.  She is not at camp, she’s not at a work, she’s not living out the mentally retarded version of Sex in the City.  She is not making us all better people as we learn how to be special snowflakes.  And who cares?

She is happy.  Happy.  Happy.

And I think maybe she is no longer my story to tell.


22 Responses

  1. What a beautiful post about your sister. It sounds like she’s telling her own story as it’s meant to be told. Good for her, I hope she continues to be happy. We all deserve that.

  2. You needed to be her voice for a long time, I think, and maybe she’s finding her own voice now. Or at least she no longer needs others to speak so often on her behalf.

    Regardless, I’m so happy she’s happy. I’m so happy you are, too.

  3. I’m so happy that she’s happy. What a wonderful chapter in her life – to be obtaining success in tasks on her own. I’m glad you went and I hope you came home a little less burdened with worry.

  4. Happy is worth a whole lot, in my book.

    I’m glad you visited.

    (and next time you come, I’m only one state away from VT. Just sayin’. In case you needed to meet up for any wine or anything.)

    Flying with a toddler deserves a medal.

  5. As a person with a younger brother we are struggling to help/find a better place for, I am extremely happy to hear she has found such a place. Really, that is the best, most wonderful thing you can hope for her. And knowing that she is happy and safe must relieve such a heavy burden that weighed on your shoulders, in the back of your mind, each and every day.

  6. I am happy for Annie and SO HAPPY FOR YOU. I’m so glad that was a good trip. SO GLAD.

  7. Well, except for the United part. They suck.

  8. it’s so wonderful that your sister is able to have such a happy life. she’s got something that so many other people never find.

  9. That life sounds like a bit of perfection right there – something I strive for myself. Good for her – and for you!

  10. Her life sounds so good, I’m happy for you both!

  11. Elizabeth, I am not sure if you remember but I first came to your blog based on a comment you made at sweetjuniper about your sister. My daughter has a rare genetic disorder and I worry what that means for all of us.
    I’m a cynical bitch and this post has be a little choked up.
    Is there anything more we could hope for in this life than to be happy?

    I hope you will continue to talk about your sister as her story intertwines with yours. I am so very glad to read about her new home. I am sure you can imagine how I need to have hope that one day Julia could be so happy.

  12. I’m happy for YOU AND HER that she’s happy.

  13. Oh, and btw, WOW Bakery GF cookies. OMFG. BEST EVER. Whole Foods.

  14. It sounds like Annie is in a wonderful place now (in both the emotional and physical sense), so it’s no wonder it’s brought happiness to both to you. I’m thrilled for you both. Happiness just warms my heart.

  15. This sounds great. And I do hope you’ll occasionally update us, the way anyone might give a news update about a sibling’s life.

  16. I’m so glad to hear that she’s so happy. That sounds like a wonderful life, one that any of us would be happy to have. It’s so wonderful that she has that now.

  17. You speak so eloquently about such a difficult thing. My brother has multiple disabilities & I can only hope we find happy for him someday…sooner rather than later. It sounds like your sister has found her niche. That must feel awesome for her.

  18. Happy is the best case scenario!

  19. Oh, I’m happy too.

  20. I’m happy for her that she is happy. It’s a rare enough commodity in this shitty world. And I’m happy for you, too. I don’t know the feelings of this exact situation, but it’s such a good feeling to know the people you love are happy.

  21. I’m so glad your sister has a happy home and that you don’t have to wonder if she’s all right.

  22. Every time I think about Annie and her new life I feel such relief. I am so happy that this change was possible for her, and for your family.

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