The woman in the bluish top with her hands over her head is my big sister Justine in her Zumba class. You can tell right away she’s unusual because most 71-year-old women don’t look this physically fit, youthful. I’m ridiculously proud of her. She’s always set amazingly high standards, an incredible example in many facets of life that inspire me.
She’s been a victorious trial attorney with extensive experience in civil rights litigation. Now she’s a full-time writer, extraordinarily creative, a true artist. She lives life on her terms.
For most of the year we’re separated by 3,000 miles as she lives in Philadelphia. This is the time we take turns visiting each other to pack a year of sisterhood into one week.
She arrives on Monday with her delightful 18-year-old son, Gabriel.
We’ll go running every morning.
Monday night we’ll have a traditional Lithuanian Christmas Eve dinner.
Tuesday we’ll do our usual Christmas tradition of exploring lavishly decorated lobbies of San Francisco’s most elegant grand hotels.
We’ll top that off with a madcap drive up and down the steep San Francisco hills, a drive Gabriel loves.
And then a movie.
Wednesday we’ll drive down the California coast to Big Sur.
Thursday we’ll hike across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Friday we’ll drive up to Calistoga in the wine country for a spa experience, surrendering to the natural geyser-produced hot springs mineral waters and a fabulous massage.
Saturday shopping (“Here, try this on, come on, just try it. See! It does look good on you!”).
Interspersed will be intense conversations over hot tea. It’s not unusual for us to stay up till 4 AM talking. About anything and everything. Important mixed with trivial, lots of girl stuff. We’ll relive memories, we’ll talk about our parents, the aunt we painfully miss. We’ll laugh much. We’ll share everything we’ve learned over the last year. We’ll explore our goals for next year, our dreams. We’ll inspire each other. We’ll laugh even more.
She’ll boss me around. I’ll boss her around. We’ll boss Gabriel around and he’ll boss us around. We have a bossy family. That laughs a lot.
A sister like no other. A nephew like no other. A week like no other.
May you also have a joy-filled holiday week like no other.