5:05 and I was right on schedule. In a private room two floors above our gathering place, shoes, jewelry, my gown freshly steamed and beautiful, I began dressing. I would need help with the zipper. A cadre of women would come up, get me zipped, and we would return to mingle with well over a hundred guests in advance of the Pre-Valentine’s Musical Soirée – our 12th, always the Saturday before Valentine’s Day.
I stepped into the gown and turned for assistance. Two confidently got to work. One held the top of the gown’s bustier the other pulled the zipper. It stuck. They wriggled it up, down, up again – only it wasn’t working.
“Pull the zip down, I’ll get out of it, and we’ll see what we can do.” It was 5:20 and I was opening the show at 6:00. With that pressure I gave a healthy pull – probably more like a yank – and the zipper broke in my hands. OMG. I had no other gown alternative. 5:22.
“Could one of you go get Carolyn?” When our event’s manager arrived, I explained, and she mentioned a tailor about two blocks away. “I don’t have time. I open the show in … 33 minutes.” I thought for a moment. “Can you get us into costuming? Would there be a needle and thread?”
“Yes,” she said.
“Okay. Can any of you sew?” I asked this sisterhood of three.
“I can, too.”
“Good. You are going to sew me into this gown. Let’s go!”
We found a curved needle and thread, and carefully, but competently, Juls and Julie stitched me into my gown. Kate recorded our moments, and we rushed upstairs. 5:57.
At 6:00 I sang, “I’ll Never Say Goodbye” to my husband, and those gathered to celebrate love.
From the sublime to the ridiculous (as in my epic wardrobe fail), I have been encouraged by, toughened up, loved unconditionally, laughed with, cried for and with, been nurtured when needed, and nurtured in return by my sisterhood.
Mulunesh was my first “sister” in a band of women with unbreakable bonds. Never before had I had the experience of simply being me, warts and all, with anyone, without negative consequence. (see The Fifth Sister) I adored the reciprocity of that blossoming friendship. She laughed at me – in my ineptitude at the simplest chores, like flipping wheat from a basket, and while it fell gently blowing away the chaff. But she also laughed easily with me. We did a lot of that, laughing. It was music to my heart.
Sometimes there is an instant knowing, other times we sisters got off to a rocky start. But all have strengthened over time. Interwoven and overlaid this rich, deeply hued, beautiful tapestry breathes flexibility, love, and I’ve-got-your-back constancy. Silver threads of humor, heartache, empathy, difference, opinion, and warmth highlight the art of sisterhood.
This cadre of women of durable bonds, span decades. When my life turned upside down as a young mother, I could count on one hand those who would stand with me. Outside my legal team, it was my sisterhood. Speaking truth cost me deeply, but it also opened my whole world.
My dearest sisterhood, I am enriched, broadened, deepened, lightened, lifted – loved. You know who you are.