Of sisters-in-law and cheese bread

Growing up, I never felt I missed a sisterhood, despite the fact that I have five brothers. My mom, my aunts, my sister and my female cousins were all good female role models.

It was the seventies–feminism, Gloria Steinem, Roe v. Wade, and black is beautiful (I grew up in lily-white suburb and my mom bought me black dolls to show me not everyone looks or needs to look like Barbie). The women in my family took time to school me on equality for all, and I soaked it up. Some of my best memories are of peeking through the stairway slats at my cousin’s house to watch and listen to my mom, dad, Aunt Toni and Uncle Jerry debate, discuss and bullshit about the topics of the day.

I was captivated by my aunt–a strong, tough, intelligent, and kind woman, who always took time to check in with me to see how I was doing and ask me what I was thinking (if you don’t think that kind of minor stuff counts for a child, think again).

As a child, I was also surrounded by boys and men–tough, athletic, talented, intelligent and good-hearted. Because of their character, I felt they should be with the same kind of caring, kind, strong, respectful women that I grew up with.

Poor Toni (yes, another Toni!) came first. She had to face all of us when she was just a young 20-something. Even my adolescent ass was ready to judge. But here we are, 20 plus years later, and I feel like she’s been a sister all along.

My brother Pete took his time, and found a woman I once thought timid, but is probably fiercer than most. Rebecca is the person you want on your side. She’s been the best listener and so patient with me, and because of it she means the world to me.

Matt’s girlfriends got it the worst from me. Because he’s close in age, I scrutinized his girlfriends the most. I thought he needed someone who would be sensitive, independent, kind-hearted and funny (a tall bill). I kept my eyes open for someone who would be a fit, and I looked and I hoped, but never expected him to marry a friend of mine, Tina (who I thought would be a good fit), but I am glad he did.

At this point, I am chronologically out-of-order, as Luke married before Matt. Be that as it may, the first time I met Katka in Munich, I knew it made sense my brother would be patient and wait for a woman like her.

Luke’s wife Katka is the impetus for this story. Today, my parents brought me a container packed with these cheese breads that Katka made. These same little cheese breads helped my brother Marc and I travel cheaply and well fed from Bratislava to Prague. It’s a good memory for me. It’s not all that she is, but it’s a sweet, kind thing that she did for me.

So lucky me–Five nephews, four nieces, and a bunch of awesome sister-in-laws. Doesn’t hurt that they can cook, too!

P.S. My brother Marc’s girlfriend, Amber, is pretty awesome, too…


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