It was 7:00 am and the sun hadn’t risen from behind the trees yet. The air felt damp and as if a cloud had recently departed. My feet took one step after the other as my legs, arms, shoulders, back and lungs started to wake up. I breathed in deeply and said hello to the man walking his dog on the opposite side of the road. I’d see him again one block and three hundred ideas later and we might gather a little more about who we each are from a distance. Only if we were in the same vicinity day after day would we really see the depths of who we each are, what makes us tick, and what our eating habits are.
That’s what families do. You wake up every day and see the same faces and bodies dance around in similar patterns. In and out of the kitchen boiling water and frying eggs and swiffering the floor. You see a sister through a window out in the yard picking the dead off of pants, gathering tomatoes and searchingly looking up at the sky as a book lay gently open on her lap. You see a brother on the opposite side of the counter-top, eating an impromptu luncheon at 2:00 in the afternoon with his fingers, and licking the crumbs off of his thumbs. A mother drops a glass jar on the kitchen floor and smiles matter-of-factly as she hunts for the broom.
We do things out of love for each other. We give each other time to think through what we’re saying and don’t rush each other. We talk openly about plans, meetings, dates, gatherings, aspirations and try to do what we can to please and help each other. When trouble faces us we are not quick to blame each other, but we graciously inquire as to what happened, how it happened and how better we can do things next time.
We teach each other and learn from each other at all ages. Some of the smallest children can be some of the best teachers. Lord knows we need faith like a child. And that kids say the darnedest things! Combine these two qualities and you’ve got a young, wise comedian in your midst. A five year old thinker who innocently challenges what you think you know; who sucks in any and all information around him/her like a starving sponge and plays it back like a recorder at any later time or date. So don’t go getting angry at your child for repeating things you’ve blasphemed in their presence! They heard it from you, after all.
And my, oh my, this applies to all family members; not just cute children. We are all mirrors of each other. Mirrors and teachers. And like a mirror, all qualities are revealed in the looking glass. We must always be careful to emit our most fruitful qualities so we aren’t unpleasantly surprised by our own bad karmas; which we all have!
Humans are not perfect: we will all wrong each other at times. And when we do, uncomfortable conversations will follow. Or feelings of avoidance. Or actual avoidance. And when this is the case, all operations must cease until the bad feelings are ironed out. That’s what families do. They stay on the same page. They communicate. They collaborate. And when a family binds together, their force is so strong that nothing could break them.
Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents and the like are such gifts to us. Such intimate relationships we are born with are often taken for granted but we must NOT take them for granted. Knowing the ins and outs of our family members’ lives is such a unique and peculiar insight to another human being. We keep each other accountable. We empathize and sympathize with each other. We know how to help each other. We know how to gift each other. We can reach out to one another when we need help. We can spend time with each other and enjoy it. We understand each other and don’t have a choice. We know each other.
Family is such a complex concept. People we love without condition; no matter if they hurt us, wrong us, frustrate us, shock us, offend us, walk on us. These are people we protect and stand up for and tell the hard truths to. People whose actions we keep accountable. People we know and love and feel a pang in our hearts for when they hurt. People we think about, love and miss from afar and can pick up right where we leave off.
I love you as you are, and nothing you can do will keep me from that <3
I miss you, and my doors are open for you whenever you return <3
Not confined to blood relatives <3
Always somewhat broken <3
Call your family and tell them how much you love them. Even if it’s hard. Even if there’s hurt. Even when it seems easier to distance yourself. Your family will always be yours… always