I Love You to the Moon and Back

From here to the moon and back
Who else in this world will love you like that?
Love everlasting I promise you that
From here to the moon and back
- from the song, "From Here to the Moon and Back"

My younger sister Julie and I have been coordinating our schedules to visit our oldest sister, Barb, who has been in and out of the hospital for the past few months. And on this day, we made plans to visit again. My husband drove my Mazda to Julie's, and from there I rode with my little sister to Harrisburg to visit Barb, who was released from the hospital a few days ago and is back living with very good friends who are awesome people.

We found my sister Barb in fine spirits, up and about and sitting on the front porch, enjoying the morning air. We always take little gifts along, and this time I brought along a bell pepper from our garden, in mid-transition between red and green. My sister loved it instantly: "Look, it's a Gemini, just like me! It can't make up its mind!"

We had a great opportunity to catch up, and spent our entire time gabbing, renewing our bonds, the way that sisters do. Oh, and my little sister and I took turns riding the new chair lift that they installed so my sister can get to the second floor, where she will be residing starting this coming weekend.

Julie had been cleaning out some of her daughter Kaylee's toys, looking to give away those items she has outgrown. And she had come across a book that she gave to Barb: Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram. The book features marvelous illustrations of rabbits trying to outdo each other with their expressions of love.

We flipped through the little book briefly, enjoying the illustrations of Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare. This photo shows us - there is Julie's foot in the top left, in her new black sneakers, and there are Barb's hands holding the book - admiring its final page:

Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile, "I love you right up to the moon - and back."

To understand the significance of this, you need to know a little something else, which I will share. I have mentioned in prior blips that my sister Barb has been in and out of the hospital a lot in the past few months. She has been battling very serious medical issues and we are trying to get her on a transplant list for both liver and kidney.

Whenever I visit Barb or talk with her on the phone or when we email, she often ends her communications with "Love you to the moon and back." (Yes, even in the first hospital, when she could barely speak.) And I respond in kind. Barb was VERY pleased with the gift of the little book. We had a good visit. It was a good day.

After that, my husband and I had time for just a short visit with my parents, ages 85 and 84 (Mom will catch up in October), and my brother. My dad asked if I wanted any peppers. Which surprised me because to my knowledge, he does not EAT peppers. So why would he feature them in his garden? "Because he likes to watch things grow," my brother explained. And so I went into their garden and pulled four HUGE red and green peppers! (See extra photos area.) Not bad odds: for each pepper I give away, will I always get four back?!?

Our day began and ended with a bit of car trouble, just to spice things up a bit. My Mazda's right front brake began hanging up when we pulled into the Sheetz at Stop 35 to gas up my car in the morning. And so the rest of the day, my husband drove my car without using the front brakes at all, lest they seize up and leave us sitting by the side of the road.

He used the emergency brake a handful of times to get us by. We were fortunate to be going UP the Seven Mountains/Laurel Creek Reservoir hill, and not DOWN, as down requires heavy braking. And we did make it safely home, thank goodness. (A car repair is already scheduled.)

As I look back through all of the memories and images from this day, the photo I selected to feature is one of my favorites. We are sisters, sitting on the front porch together, chatting and enjoying the day. We are all present for each other. Our love will keep us strong, whatever may be asked of us, whatever happens next. I love you, sisters; love you to the moon . . . and back!

My sister Barb is a big fan of Willie Nelson. I know that she will appreciate that the song I have chosen to accompany the image of her holding the book features him. The tune is by Willie Nelson with Dolly Parton, From Here to the Moon and Back. The quote I began this story with is from the song.

P.S. If you love somebody and you have not told them so recently, please pick up the phone or even better, go and visit, and TELL THEM TODAY. You can say that the GirlWithACamera made you do it . . .  :-)

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