May 4th birthday gratitude entry:
“I can be on a plane in two hours, by your side by the end of today!”
This was the text I received from her as I awaited results from my husband’s hospitalization. Though we had been distant for many years – I immersed in motherhood and she in marriage and school, my baby sister heard about Steven’s dire health and immediately offered help.
Annamaria Augustine Turner was laid in my lap nearly fresh-out. Mom and Dad took the famous “Hawaii picture” of the four of us: me at 3, Nina at 2, Tom at 1, and baby sis. We were a tight bunch chronologically and have seen our ins-n-outs and ups-n-downs throughout the years.
We drifted when I got married and started a family. Motherhood consumed me and I let most relationships fizzle. There are just a few things I would do differently in this life. Among them is relationships. They’re vital and I am realizing this all the more as I wake up to The Real.
“Thank you for your offer and I will let you know!”
And just like that, we were back in each other’s lives full throttle. My husband’s near-death with sepsis was the scariest, suckiest thing ever… but, in and among all the shit of it, there was in fact a pony.
I recall one Thanksgiving when my sister, deeply moved that a homeless man had no socks, bought enough blankets and socks to fill her trunk. She proceeded to drive back to that particular shelter and distribute packages of necessities and sandwiches. She did this numerous holidays. Her philanthropies remain unpublished.
While generous, she’s also intelligent, organized, and loves an adventure. She’s straight to the point – I love this about her! – here is a nugget of her wisdom: “a turd dressed up and spritzed with perfume is still a turd.” She is honest, determined, can find the best damn deals on clothes, and cooks an Italian meal like a seasoned chef. She is an avid reader, open to new ways of thinking, believing, healing. Her heart beats for children, that they be treated kindly and gently, without shaming or corporal punishment.
She loves food, running, Rome, crossword puzzles, and sleeping in.
She’s created a wonderful family, encouraging them to risk, love, blossom, adventure, dare! She married Kirk and they’re raising four of the blondest, sweetest souls I’ve had the privilege to get to know.
She’s looked hardships, disappointments, and injustices in the face, taken a deep breath, remembered the Badass that she is, and kept going. I cannot recall a time when she played the Victim Card. In the midst of pain, tough breaks, and loneliness, she refused to become embittered.
She’s my Hero.
We talk or text daily. I could not imagine my life without her! She actually still fits in my lap… but, more, she resides within my heart, my very being. She’s shown me that you can survive the breathtakingly difficult and keep your chin up, your head on straight, and your heart open to the possibilities of love and happiness.
This is her song. It is perfectly her (and Kirk, Joel too.)
Annamaria Augustine Turner, I love you.
You. Complete. Me.
Much love & hope,