My eyes are hot and dry. My skin feels tight like something outgrown. Despite the open windows, it is stifling upstairs as I write this. The summer is barreling at us at full speed. We spend nearly every afternoon in the garden digging holes for seeds and transplants, striking pocket weeds that are still difficult to tell apart from our budding seedlings. Half of the time is spent shepherding Theta out of the veggie patch, occupying her with bowls of dirt or a few pushes on the swing. Ophelia, you are often reluctant to go outside, preferring quiet play with your dolls. But as soon as we kick ourselves out the back door you couldn't be happier. And every day, without fail, there is a quiet moment when I find myself alone and sweating over a shovel or spade. I look up to find the two of you in a corner of the yard, faces pressed together, sharing something whose depths I will never fully understand; something unfamiliarly beautiful.
Theta, I remember your anatomy ultrasound, getting that first real glimpse of your darling profile. There you were on the small grainy screen, an impression of our flesh and blood baby girl. That night as I put you to bed, Ophelia, I saw your own silhouette black against the light outside your window. The same rosebud lips, the same delicately sloped nose. Sisters. The word entered my consciousness as if for the first time. I was not just going to be the mother of two children, two girls. I was going to be the mother of two sisters.
I never worried much about how you two would get along. I figured it was as much up to the cosmos, to luck and chance, whether you would actually enjoy each other's company. Theta, the morning you were born you were in a big hurry. You had barely made your way earthside and up to my breast when Ophelia tiptoed out of her room at 5 AM. Still wrapped in sleep, Ophelia wordlessly came to the couch, curled her body against mine and softly kissed Theta on the forehead. It was so shockingly clear that this was not the first time you two had met.
Watching you girls together is incredible. Ophelia, you have a voice saved only for your sister. A sugary love voice. A while back you started calling Theta "Seuss" which has stuck like taffy. Theta, you save your bubbling laughter for Ophelia and if mama is away, it's your sister you need.
I try not to have expectations about how this sister love will grow and change. But sometimes I let my imagination run wild and you are traveling to Thailand together to celebrate your scantly spaced birthdays, sending long, confessional letters to your respective corners of the world, snuggling up on the couch of your childhood home, this home, when your wandering souls need a rest, need one another. I wish for you girls a lifelong bond that weaves through thorny lows and breathless highs. A bond that plants your feet in the earth and lifts your hands to the sky.
I love you each immensely and yet somehow I love you even more together.
All my love,