Summer and Koda have rekindled the spirit of family for me lately. Introducing them to Kitty. Familiarizing them with the cadence of our group. Voices, laughter, noise level, the space we tall people take up. The ENERGY we share. It is all about what our newest members needed to adjust to. This is your family, Koda and Summer.
For the past few weeks the topic of family has been on the forefront of the news. Many things can be debated, a political arena I do not wish to enter here on my blog. The one commonality we all share is family. Everyone was born into a family. Some are closer to their parents, children, and siblings, and some are further apart. Emotionally and physically.
The latter is true for the family I grew up in. My parents are living an active life in the same community in Northern California where they raised four daughters. Each one of my sisters and I are spread far apart geographically. I am all the way across the country in Virginia. My baby sister is living in Hawaii. The other two are in California, one in San Diego, and one near my parents in the Bay Area. Many miles apart, three different time zones, many months between visits, and somehow our connection remains close.
My sisters mean everything to me. To hear their familiar voice on my phone closes the gap between us. That is not to say that it doesn’t ache in my heart that we cannot simply meet at Panera for lunch, or try a pilates class together. Our days of spending hours in the same house are long gone but remain crystal clear in my mind. Sleeping outside on the waterbed under the stars. A game of spoons ending with the loser having to eat five gross mysterious ingredients from the kitchen on a spoon. Dancing to the Gypsy soundtrack in the living room. Playing sardines and ending up all four of us crammed in the bottom of my parents’ closet. The song by the Pointer Sisters is our song, “We are family. I got all my sisters and me. We are family.”
As we have grown older it is not so much about what we do, but more about our conversations. We confide in one another, support and advise each other. We tease, we laugh, we reflect, we analyze, we laugh some more. I am very lucky to have three sisters, even during those turbulent times when we all shared one bathroom and a tiny mirror and sink. We fought over clothes, time on the telephone, and taking one’s spot on the sofa when a person got up. “You didn’t say save place!”
I give my parents a lot of credit for their patience and their efforts to help keep peace in the house. We had family meetings where we would each take a turn to air our gripes, and also share what we were going to work on. I love that my mom and dad did this. I do not recall my childhood conflicts all being resolved in these family meetings, but a more important lesson was learned. Talking and listening are essential in peaceful relationships. My family growing up was intense at times with dramatic exchange of words and emotions, and then just as intensely we’d make up and apologize.
This week my parents, and my sisters and their kids are getting together in California for the holiday. I could not make it out there due to schedule conflicts and NEW PUPPIES. I miss them and hope they have fun! Instead I am basking in the joy of having all four of my children home this week. This is rare for us, as one plays football in college and is only able to come home for limited amounts of time. So last night as the six of us held hands around the table, and the puppies looked on from their spot on the cool floor, I was filled with gratitude. GrizzlyBearMa lives for these moments.