The expression “smiles are contagious” must have come from someone who saw my sister’s smile. Sarah’s smile takes over her entire face and oozes happiness, but her hugs are extraordinary. I actually looked up synonyms for extraordinary because I thought there had to be a better word that could truly describe her hugs. I decided that extraordinary was the perfect word. Hugs are an ordinary every day thing, but Sarah’s hugs are extra. Extra special, extra long, extra tight, extra extra — especially if you haven’t had one in a long time. In a time when hugs are currently not an ordinary everyday thing, a hug from Sarah can cause you to come undone.
My sister and I talk almost daily so though we haven’t seen each other in person for nine months, it doesn’t feel that way. We have short chats and long talks. I feel connected to her, but when I walked out of the airport last week and she jumped out of the car to hug me, I realized the way to truly feel connected to Sarah is to be on the receiving end of one of her hugs. She hugged me and suddenly the world was no longer such a terrible place. Let’s be honest, a virtual hug is not a thing. There is nothing like a hug to make you feel loved and connected to someone.
Sarah is my younger sister and only sibling. We had an ordinary family and happy childhood, but our parents both died far too young. Perhaps we would be this close if our parents were still alive, but there is something about knowing she is the only person in the world that I have known forever that I will never take for granted. Since we live 850 miles apart, we go for quality time rather than quantity. When we see each other we immediately go into sister mode. We clean out closets, gardens — whatever needs to be done that the other has been putting off. Our families say it’s like being in the path of a hurricane when we’re together. I’d prefer to call it a whirlwind because it seems like our time together whirls by far too quickly.
We just spent six days together sandwiched between the hello hug and the goodbye hug. We didn’t do anything of significance. We had Mama Mia’s meatball pizza, a Bongi’s Thanksgiving turkey sandwich, and a Hillard’s caramel apple. We cleaned three of her shelving units and took things to Savers. We spent time with our sister from another mother and took walks on the beach. The thing that will stay with me until I see her again is the hello hug and the goodbye hug. With each hug she filled my heart with all the love she has for me and that will sustain me until we see each other again. Until then we will keep up with our short chats and long talks.