I LOVE this picture. I think it's because each one of my girls' personalities shine through in this one little scene. Little Miss (Ava) has the cheery red nose and angelic smile, Abby looks in control of the situation and enjoying the day, and Ella is trying to pose but can't hide the pain of her frozen hand as she lifts the snowball into the shot. The look on her face is priceless as she looks to her big sister for help. Classic Ella!
Out of all the bonds we know in our life time, there is something very special about sisters. I don't know what it is, but the unique ability to fill a home with drama over the smallest things in one moment yet stand as a united front ready to take on the world in the next is something I cannot begin to understand. I was never blessed with a sister. Growing up with an older brother was very different than what I've watched in my girls. It's filled with whispers, giggling, and secrets that shall never be told (except to the family dog, Dodger) while covered in silly songs, mani-pedis, and hair brushing. What my generation knew as late night walkie-talkie discussions are now midnight conversations through Instagram marked by an eruption of laughter heard down the hallway. As a father and mother, our relationship with Ella was unique. But as hard as I may try, I will never understand the depths of Ella's relationship with her sisters.
This weekend we celebrated my oldest daughter's 15th birthday. It was Abby's first birthday in a decade without Ella. Leading up to the day, I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't sure how Abby would handle it. Maybe that's because I wasn't sure how I would handle it. Abby chose to go rollerskating. Not because that was an activity we did with Ella. In fact, Ella had never been. But, they had been talking about going, and Abby wanted Ella to be a part of this party. So, she decided to keep the plans that she and Ella had made, which meant Ella would somehow be a part of it all. That's what sisters do. I smile at the thought that the bond Ella had with her sisters will never be broken. While the late night laughter no longer spills down the hallway, and the whispers and secrets are now shared by two instead of three, the memories will forever rest in the hearts of my girls. I will forever be the father of four, they will forever be a trio of sisters, and we will walk through many more birthdays ahead, carrying Ella with us and celebrating the gift of a sister-bond that even death itself will never strip away.