Sister Day

Many years ago, two little girls in Massachusetts decided that if there was a Mother's Day, a Father's Day and a Grandparents' Day, there should be a Sister Day.

And lo, those two little girls declared March 31 to be Sister Day. Originally commemorated by doing each others' chores, through the years, it occasionally passed unmarked. But there was usually a phone call, an e-card, and on the few occasions they lived in the same state, a lunch or shopping trip.

When I told my co-workers that today is Sister Day, there was good-natured gibing that soon Hallmark will be printing cards. It's all my fault. We invented a holiday. And it's true, we tend to sneer at these holidays - artificially created excuses for us to spend money. But aside from the Hallmark silliness, these minor holidays serve as an annual reminder to tell our loved ones how we feel. It is far too easy to let the years pass with so much left unsaid, and when inevitably we part our ways, how much worse is it to think, "I wish I had said it when I had the chance."

My sister is my personal hero. Her story isn't mine to tell. But when I think of women who have overcome great odds, who have faced down trials from the world around them and attacked their own flaws as well, I think of my sister. She is someone I admire, whose grace under pressure and wry sense of humor in the face of life's rollercoasters gives me hope that it is possible to keep your sanity in the merry-go-round of a working mom. She is generous and strong, smart as hell and a wonderful mother, daughter and sister.

Flawless? Hell no. She is the world's worst letter-writer and she likes peanut butter sauce on Hawaiian punch ice cream.

We had more than our fair share of spats as children, and our personality differences made us indifferent teenagers. But as we became adults, our personality differences seemed to vanish, and we came out the other end remarkably the same. Or so I would like to think.

Her name is Melanie, and it is my great honor to call her my sister. Happy Sister Day.