The Sister Thing

Posted On: 04.21.16


Last night, I went to dinner at Tessa with Mom and three of my four sisters. We talked and laughed and shared yummy food (think: lamb meatballs, tuna tartar, shaved brussels). When the meal was over, we headed back out into the gorgeous April night here in New York City and stood on the sidewalk for a bit before saying goodnight.

On the walk home with my younger sisters, I thought about the theme of sisters, of how my childhood was spent sandwiched between two older and two younger sisters, how we are now raising three little girls of our own, three tight-knit sisters, how this fact of sisterhood is, and will continue to be, part, likely a profound part, of their individual identities too.

Back home, we three youngest Donnelley girls settled on the couch with Husband to watch two episodes of the hilarious new show The Detour. We laughed so hard and just spent time together. It was simple and nice. I realized then that I long for more of these nights, nights with my sisters and my mom. But life is life and we all have our own worlds, worlds that take us in different directions so much of the time, but worlds that also overlap when we are lucky, like they did last night.

On the sidewalk after dinner, it was youngest sister who said we should get a picture of the four of us. And so we squished together for this silly selfie I’m so happy to have.

We stood there, in the middle of our big city, blocks from our colorful childhood home, and for a sweet moment, we did the impossible.

We stopped time.

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4 Comments for: "The Sister Thing"
  1. I absolutely love everything about all of this.

    I have my own sister that it seems impossible to get time with and to spend time with. And I so wish that I could spend more time with her – being 6 hours apart makes it so not easy.

    But I also love the idea of the simplicity of staying in – or going out for a simple dinner with a group that you are 100% comfortable with.

    And, to stop time. If we all had this power, I sometimes think that time wouldn’t move anywhere because we would all find the perfect moment and just stop it. I think that maybe we would get tired of it being paused for a while, but it would be nice – is nice – when we can make this happen.

    I’m so happy to hear about your wonderful time with your mom and sisters. Here’s to many more of those nights when you can steal them away.

  2. Tessa

    Love the fact that you went to a restaurant named after me! It is the first time I have come across my name used in this context.

    What you wrote really resonates with me, Aidan, as I had the most wonderfully intense quality time with my older brother recently, even though the circumstances were very sad. My mother died at the end of January and I immediately flew a very long distance back home from where I was living and working. Early the next day, my brother and I drove for many hours to where my mother had lived – a journey of great sadness, many memories, almost continual tears from me and endless stories. In my family, the jury is still out on who tells the longest stories : me or my brother.

    Then, for the next four days, we took care of all the things that needed to be done – and it was intense and emotional. And we swam in the sea and went for walks on the beach and cooked dinner together – just me and my older brother together for five days – after which we made the return journey, this time not speaking much during the many hours on the road, but listening to the music of our teenage years, the last time we ever spent extended periods of intense time together, with the volume turned right up.

    I never thought I would experience a time like this with my brother, both of us in our late 50s, and we both marveled at how wonderful it had been and mourned the fact that it does not, could not and would not happen more often or maybe ever again. And we had a long discussion about how we had grown up together – we are only 18 months different in age – we share so much common history – we are connected on such a deep level – we have such strong feelings for and about one another – and yet we now spend so little time together.

  3. amy

    my sisters are my best friends; such a special relationship. Happy weekend!

  4. I have a few thoughts on your post…

    1) There is nothing like the bond between sisters!
    2) Your posts about NYC (and your book!!!) make me want to live there.
    3) I have one sister and adore her, couldn’t imagine the blessing of having 4!!!
    4) Glad you are back to blogging regularly (although I’m missing your ADR Friday Loves)
    5) That restaurant looks incredible! Next time I’m in New York I am seriously going to cull your blog for recommendations on places to go/eat.


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