Sun Sisters

By Carol Aluzzo

From the moment Janie introduced herself, I knew we were going to be friends. Both her husband and mine had just transferred to the company’s Long Island office from out of state and we were feeling awkward at a company party. We soon discovered that we were both married for a few years and, rather than looking for work in our new location, we were both thinking about starting a family. We also shared a love of the beach and were looking forward to spending some serious time that summer at Long Island’s famous ocean beaches. Before the night was over, we had plans to explore the various beaches on Fire Island, the barrier island along much of eastern Long Island’s south shore.

Although it was still cold at the beach in April, May, and June, the hypnotic sound of the ocean kept calling us back. We spent much of that spring walking the water’s edge, listening to the laughing gulls, and digging our toes into the fine white sand as we sat on our folding chairs and slowly shared our hopes and dreams. By June, we were sharing our concerns that neither of us had become pregnant yet, since we both expected it to happen right away. We traded books and magazine articles on pregnancy and parenting while we tried out baby names. No matter how anxious or disappointed either of us was, the warm summer sun and the cool ocean water would always relax us. It is absolutely impossible to walk along the shore, kicking at the surf and watching the birds soar and dive, without getting a smile on your face.

In mid-July, I suspected that I might be pregnant. Those were the days before home pregnancy tests, so I made a doctor’s appointment, but did not share that information with Janie. It had never occurred to me that one of us might get pregnant before the other, and I suddenly realized how hard that would be on us both. I wouldn’t say anything until I was certain it was true. When the doctor’s test confirmed my suspicions, I was ecstatic and wanted to share the news with both my husband and my best friend, but I made my husband swear not to tell anyone at work until I told Janie. It had to come from me.

Several weeks went by and I still hadn’t found the right way to tell Janie my good news. One day, as we walked in the low surf, I suddenly became ill right there at the water’s edge. “Oh, great,” I thought, “Only I would get morning sickness in the afternoon!”

Janie eyed me suspiciously. “Is there something you need to tell me?” she teased.

“Actually, yes, Janie. I’m almost three months pregnant. I was trying to find the right time to tell you. Are you okay? I’m really sorry!” The words I had been holding back came tumbling out all at once.

Janie laughed one of her totally uninhibited laughs that I had come to love. “Don’t sweat it, sweetie. I just found out that I’m pregnant, too!”

The gulls squawked as we hugged each other, crying and laughing as the waves circled our feet. It turned out that our due dates were only two weeks apart. We would be sharing every aspect of our first pregnancies together. As the summer passed, we shared the odd changes in our bodies, both excited and a little afraid at the same time. We talked about nursery colors and themes, our parents’ reactions, and the changes we anticipated in our relationships with our husbands. By then, Janie and I were more sisters than friends, which was welcomed by us both, since neither of us had a sister of our own.

Thinking back, I realize how little we knew about the changes that parenthood would bring, and I’m so grateful for Janie. We were not only there for each other during our pregnancies, but we remained loyal friends through the years. As our families grew, our children came to see each other as part of an extended family, especially since none of our relatives lived nearby. Over the years, Janie and I, along with her two daughters and my two girls, spent many summer days at the ocean beaches, a favorite place for us all. The memories we created there still bring smiles to our faces and joy to our hearts.

Although our kids have grown, moved away, and have families of their own now, Janie, our daughters, and I try to plan a girls’ weekend at the beach at least once each summer. The beach is now on North Carolina’s beautiful Crystal Coast, but the ocean still offers us all a chance to reconnect with each other and with ourselves. For me, the feel of the sun on my skin, the smell of the salt air on a cool breeze, the roar of the surf, and the cries of the gulls immediately connect me to that first summer with Janie, when we both began our families and created an unbreakable bond. That is when we became sun sisters.

About this writer

  • Carol Aluzzo

    Carol Aluzzo

    Carol Aluzzo is happily retired in New Bern, North Carolina, with her husband and their two cats. Their daughters and grandkids love to visit, and they always go to the beach.

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One Response to “Sun Sisters”

  1. Erika Hoffman says:

    Lovely story!

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