Friday, January 16, 2009

2 women, 1 lady in a hot city

I'm back and refreshed for the new year. Just returned from a mini-vacation with my sisters in Miami.

Because my sisters begged me to join them. The sun won't shine as brightly without you there, they said. The soothing waterfall in the spa, not so soothing. The fruit smoothies by the pool, not that smoothy, they intoned.

I feigned modesty, but knowing that was all true, I decided to leave frigid Rhode Island and join them in their vacation-already-in-progress that they had accidentally forgotten to invite me along on when they made plans months ago.

(But, you are so important, we didn't think your family could survive without you. Your work so critical, and what with the economy already struggling, we didn't want to interfere with the global recovery. Your bank account so skinny given your propensity for charitable giving... So true, so true, I said, and forgave them for the inability to see what I can pull off to save my sisters from the dullness of a vacation without me.)

My sisters are both quite attractive, if you judge beauty in the conventional sense, of course. One has curly locks and is tone and muscular, clear to all thanks to her insistence on wearing a bathing suit in the pool. Truth be told, it's only the hours in the gym that make her that way. But is that natural beauty? I'm not sure...

The other is tall and thin with a mane of thick hair. You hear whispering about "Super Model" when she's around. True, it is she who is whispering, but still others get the point. But is beauty like that without work truly beautiful? I'm not sure...

From time to time, probably because I am generous enough to talk to people whatever their mental capabilities, people mistake me for their mother. I know what you are thinking: While you are the oldest of the three, aren't there only two and a half years between you and the youngest?

Yes, that is true. But I don't think people are judging physical attributes here. Take for instance, the massage therapist at the spa where we stayed in Miami. After appointments with my two sisters (who, as I mentioned, started the vacation earlier than me by mistake), it was my turn.

Another Harrington? he asked. Are you the mother? My initial reaction: I asked him to pinch himself - hard, on his upper arm, on the fleshy part where it really hurts. I was on vacation after all, and wasn't about to do that myself.

But, after that, I realized several things: One, he was clearly looking into my eyes and not at my body that has, after all, given birth. He could see the maturity, I am sure. He could see the way I have counseled my sisters throughout the years, guided them so well that one now owns a successful business and the other manages accounts worth millions. He could see that without me, they would stumble their way through life, accidentally taking dull vacations together.

And then there's the language barrier. "Mother" in his culture probably means "most kind of the three" or perhaps "willing to talk to the mentally deficient." In the end, we had a laugh. Well, actually, he may have been whimpering from the pain in his arm, but he saw the folly of it all.

We're home now, relaxed and ready for whatever '09 brings. I'm still keeping tabs on my sisters, with a maternal instinct of sorts. I have their travel agent on speed dial, for instance, checking in every few hours, keeping a close eye on their plans.

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