a kumbaya for sisterhood


sisters

When my first baby was born and dried and gangly-wrapped new, I positioned him for his first meal, and it just wasn’t working – his mouth and nature’s best, most awkward cup. So there stood my best friend, coaching me, being my sister, and without thinking, she grabbed my boob and shoved it in his mouth. He began to drink until his eyes rolled back, and it was beautiful. 

And then I looked up at her. We made faces, and she said, “Did I just grab you like that?” and I said, “yep,” and we giggled and moved on. It’s just what needed to happen.

Motherhood has been this way for me, a time after time of sisters stepping in to do what needs to be done – play with my babies, listen to my complaints, steer me toward truth, make me an awesome casserole. Strangely, this odd blog-world has been much the same, an opportunity for sisterhood and for saying what needs to be said.

You know you’re a sister when you splay all your vulnerable business in exchange for her voice. I give you my voice, and then you give me yours, and something about it is home.

You’re my sister because we come from the same place – and with different readers/bloggers, I share different home places. We’re from a hard-working house. We’re from ugly feet. We’re from a bad temper. We’re from pit-low guilt, from proud of our children, and from doing with what we’ve got. We’re from grace – that uncommon place, a million of them, that only sisters share.

We don’t share blood, but because you read or you write, we go together to the funeral and to the party. You imagine with me. You taste communion wine. You help me say hello and goodbye, to kneel and to be honest.

And still the truth is that we are in a body, bound by umbilical cords, wedding bands, time and skin.

Blogs consist in words and images, rarely something that touches the skin (only the heart) unless one gets the chance to meet in real life, to go to a conference.

When I met Emily from Chatting at the Sky at Blissdom09, she went to her room and read my blog. The next morning, she grabbed me at the elbows and said, “I love you.” Because she had read my blog, she knew more of my heart than my girlfriends in the flesh do who don’t read me. She said, “I love you,” and I believed her.

But reading about amazing buttermilk biscuits does not a biscuit make. The dough has to get under the nails. Because a sister says to live out what goes on in the heart, I take your voice, your good recipes, and I’ll scoot my skin-sisters up under my table, knowing all the while that I would be the lesser had you not heart-sistered me so. 

——–

I wrote this as an entry for a scholarship to the Type-A-Mom Conference from The Sister Project, an amazing website that I stalk daily. It makes me think of the greatest sister I have, my little one, who once hit me in the head with a rock and who cried when she found out I had smoked a cigarette. Erin, you are (now) the very best at love.

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amberhaines
About me

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39 Comments

laura @ peacoat
Reply July 29, 2009

this is so, so amazing.

it captures why i'm a girlfriend, why i blog, and why those things are separate and the same.

Amber
Reply July 29, 2009

I know. I know. I link to Emily all the time. I have nothing to say for myself about that.

Also, Brooke Robinson, I feel very strongly that I owe you (and others) some buttermilk biscuits right about now.

rachel-asouthernfairytale
Reply July 29, 2009

*sigh*

exactly. EX actly!
Love.

Lora Lynn
Reply July 29, 2009

Now, see? I was still trying to figure out how to tell you that I think you're wonderful after your last post and then you go post ANOTHER zinger. I'm out of words for the comment love. How about I just send some general LOVE? With a big buttermilk puffy heart?

Heather of the EO
Reply July 29, 2009

If you don't win the contest, I'M going to throw a rock at someone's head!

That was beautiful, Amber. I've had all this stuff running around in my busy little mind since BlogHer, and you've just said it here. In the way only you can say it. Poetically, with truth, humor and grace. I love it. And I know that if I had to honor of meeting you somewhere one day, I wouldn't be able to refrain from that big fat I LOVE YOU.

Amber
Reply July 29, 2009

With all the love in the world, I got to meet Lora Lynn and Rachel, and I'm sure I would totally attack you, Heather, with a ginormous hug. By now, Emily might actually be scared of me.

Adventures In Babywearing
Reply July 29, 2009

Amber, when I met you at BlissDom I did the same, I laid in my hotel room with Ivy and read your entire blog from my iPhone. I was confused- how could it be possible that you, such a beauty in real life, were even more beautiful in written word. More beautiful than I'd possibly ever read.

Steph

Margaret Roach
Reply July 29, 2009

There are so many moments of sweet grace (since you mentioned it) in this essay I don't know what to say is my favorite. Thanks for sharing your take on the blogging sisterhood with the rest of us.

melissa
Reply July 29, 2009

wonderful post. you should win because it's all so true.

brittney
Reply July 29, 2009

Your posts always seem to remind me of a story about my husband. For instance: his older sister hit him in the head with a rock she thought was a dirt clot. (On accident, of course.)

I'm glad for the blessings of the sisterhood of blogging.

Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect
Reply July 29, 2009

Amber, you captured this world, this life so beautifully. Love it.

Megan @ Hold it Up to the Light
Reply July 29, 2009

Amen. and Amen. and....

You better win.

Now? I need a biscuit and my best friend and my sister!

Jessica
Reply July 30, 2009

Thank you friend for bein my sister when I wanted to let all my goods hang out to you....ugly as they may be.

deb
Reply July 30, 2009

You truly are amazing.
I love that blog...found it not long after I lost a soul sister , and it is such a beautiful place.
As is this blog... always , always.

Pam at beyondjustmom
Reply July 30, 2009

Just beautiful, Amber.
I completely relate to this part:
"Because she had read my blog, she knew more of my heart than my girlfriends in the flesh do who don’t read me."
Thanks for sharing.

mandie
Reply July 30, 2009

That's beautiful and inspiring, and just what I needed. At times it feels like I so much closer to strangers than to those around me, and it makes me feel crazy (sometimes). You completely reaffirmed something inside of myself that I needed to 'hear' someone else say.

thank you!

Lora Lynn
Reply July 30, 2009

So I read it again, just because it showed up in my reader. Where do I go to bully the person who picks the winner? Because it needs to be you.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting
Reply July 30, 2009

Took my breath away. A-may-zing. I cannot wait to sit and talk and ramble and cry and live without computer screens and hundreds of miles dividing us.

Sugar Jones
Reply July 30, 2009

We met only briefly at Blissdom. I had been reading your blog for weeks, but never put pieces together. When I got home and realized the opportunity I missed, my arms suddenly felt empty for the hug we never had.

I will NOT make that mistake in Asheville!

Amber
Reply July 30, 2009

Well, Sister Sugar (doesn't that sound like church in the South?), I sure hope I'm going because I've known I needed a hug from you for some time now.

Shandell's
Reply July 31, 2009

I am so glad that I found you, what a wonderful post. The Sister Project is a daily read for me as well. The blogs I visit and the sisters I am meeting have changed my life.

emily
Reply July 31, 2009

I can't...I don't..I can't even speak! First of all, whatever scholarship you are trying to get needs to go directly to you. Di.Rectly. You should win this scholarship and every other scholarship in the history of all the scholarships. Period. I sometimes have to stop myself from linking to The Run a Muck because I'm afraid my friends will hate me and roll their eyes at me and say "Come on. Get over your girl-crush already." Because that is simply what it is. In the best kind of way.

Cassandra Frear
Reply July 31, 2009

LOVE this post!

LOVE IT!

Secret Agent Mama
Reply August 1, 2009

I'm so glad you wrote this.

There are people that you can just pass by, for a few seconds, and through a smile, you know.. You know the very heart that beats inside of them. You don't know why you know, but you know.

Beautiful.

Kimba @ A Soft Place to Land
Reply August 1, 2009

Sigh. You nailed it. Somehow you manage to paint a word picture that speaks right to my soul.

I entered too. And I want you to win. For real.
Kimba

Corina - Down to Earth Mama
Reply August 2, 2009

Wonderful and poetic. Thanks for sharing.

Sara Sophia
Reply August 3, 2009

You say it so well.
I want so much to experience the conference love that you speak of--having never-yet been to one, I can only imagine the splendor of meeting heart-skin-soul sisters in the flesh<3

I want to grab someone's elbows and tell them "I love you".
I want my elbows grabbed as well.

Let's plan to have a chat at Type A Mom.
I'll bring my prettiest words.

<3 sarasophia

    Amber
    Reply August 3, 2009

    Sara Sophia, that sounds so good. Ok, and maybe, by some crazy circumstance, we'll both get to be somewhere together at the same time, elbows and all.

Sara Sophia
Reply August 3, 2009

Yay!

I KNOW it will happen:)

<3 sarasophia

Kellyology
Reply August 3, 2009

Favorite entry so far. You have a beautifully lyrical way with words. Good luck!

TexasDeb
Reply August 4, 2009

Read all the quotes/excerpts but yours was the post I wanted to read. I added you as a bookmark thinking on some level "another one?! when will there be time to read all this?" but knowing.... When the sharing is this real, the time always opens up to let it in. Can't wait to get to know you better, let you in on a regular basis.

Monica Sharman
Reply August 7, 2009

Well, I'll always take another sister...
Monica

Cheri
Reply August 9, 2009

:) And this is why I grabbed you mid-stride this morning in church to tell you "I love you." Sister's good.

Sandy@God Speaks Today
Reply August 23, 2009

Thank you for this. I hate the stigma that is out there where it's believed that the blogging community is "artificial" because it isn't face to face. I love to blog for all the reasons you mentioned. And, I too, have had opportunity to meet some of these amazing women who also blog. And they are anything but artificial. It's great to "know" them when you meet them, and they you.

Blessings,
Sandy

Monica (peapodsquadmom)
Reply August 31, 2009

oh wow...such an amazing post. thank you for writing this!

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