If you were to walk into my Dad’s kitchen today, attached to his refrigerator you would find a “Thank You” note addressed not to him, but to his daughter, Ann Marie. The note reads “Dear Aunt Ann, Thank you for being the best Aunt ever!” One might think I would be jealous seeing that note displayed for all to read but you would be wrong. Not only is she the greatest Aunt, she’s also pretty great as a sister. Ann Marie has always gone out of her way to make all the grandkids feel special. I guess in that respect, Ann takes after my mom the most. She easily has endeared herself to everyone with her little gestures of love, but most especially as the role of caregiver to my Dad.
My Dad worked as a Podiatrist for over 50 years and all of his daughters have worked for him at one time or another. I remember when I was in High School I made $72 a week in salary; which I suppose looking back on, was pretty darn good. The problem was, I hated the job. I was a lousy assistant and not very good at doing anything other than reading People and Us magazines when they arrived-or going to the pharmacy behind the office to get “supplies” thus disappearing for long periods of time to play the “Centipede” video game located at the store. Ann Marie on the other hand took to the work. She enjoyed meeting all the patients and carried a rapore with them. When my dad sold his practice several years later, Ann was essentially sold along with the practice-ensuring a smooth transition for the new doctor and maintaining a good job as well. All told Ann Marie and Dad worked together for over twenty years and developed an amazing relationship in the process.
When the time came for my dad to need a little more assistance I called him and offered my services. I was unemployed at the time and said, “I have the time Dad. We can schedule your appointments so I can take you”. He replied, “No thank you, your sister will take care of me.” “But Dad, she is busy with work and her kids. I have the free time…” I tried. “Marsha I love you, but Ann Marie will get me there.” Feeling bad I called Ann and said, “I tried, but he won’t hear of it..” She simply replied, “That’s okay-he and I are buddies. No big deal.”
Now Ann Marie is not a saint-nor does she claim to be. She and I have had our share of laughs and disagreements, but I can never stay mad at her long. The idea is futile; she’s too important in my, my children and everyone who has come to know her; life. Together we often look back to when we shared a bedroom together and the antics she would pull on me–most notably telling me I was late for school one morning and letting me run all the way to the basement and take a shower, before telling me it was really only 2 am. We look back now and laugh at the humor and sheer brilliance of that joke (someday I will get her back…).
This blog started out as something different…one I guess I’ll write tomorrow, about a sleepover my sister Ann hosted for the doll and her cousins Mary and Elle; over the weekend. Just one in a long line of sleepovers she’s held for all 13 of my parents grand daughters-which has not only endeared herself further with the girls, but to their parents as well.