Sunday, May 16, 2010

Family Reunion, Part 2

"In every conceivable manner the family is the link
to our past and the bridge to our future."
Alex Haley

So, I've been thinking about the time spent with my sisters, and wondering about sibling rivalry. I have spent enough time looking back, weeding through the emotional events that shaped my life to realize that having five girls born at 3-5 year intervals - one just up and walking getting used to being the princess when another comes on the scene to steal her tiara - there is just no way that there would not be some rivalry. I've thrown some of the memories that no longer serve me well (did they ever?) in the trash and some I hold on to like our faithful dog, Black Beauty, with a ham bone. Some I forget about until a button is pushed somewhere in my gut and then they come flooding back like it was yesterday.

What I noticed during this visit is that in our adulthood there just doesn't seem to be a place for sibling rivalry. I can't speak for the others, but for me there was no time when my inner child felt like shouting, "hey, what about me?" or "he's my daddy" or "nanny nanny boo boo." Is this what being a grown up is all about?

Even though I was comfortable with my sisters, I also felt like something was missing. I think it was intimacy. As you might expect with five women in one house there was all kinds of chatter going on for a week. However, I don't feel like I know these ladies, my sisters, on a personal, familiar level anymore. I know how old they are, what they do/did for a living, and how many kids/grandkids they have. That's good stuff but shouldn't there be more for sisters who once shared the same bathroom? I'm just as gun shy as the rest of them. Our combined histories tells us that a discussion on a deeper level can dissolve into spilled milk that we can all cry over whether we need to or not. Still, it's what I long for, something more.

Maybe someday when we are together again I'll find the nerve to look each one in the eye and heart and say tell me about yourself.

Are you happy?
What makes you laugh?
What are you passionate about?
What are you afraid of?
What does serenity mean to you?
How do you get it?
Do you have a bucket list?
Is there something you've always wanted to do but haven't had the chance?
What would it take?
Do you have regrets?
Can you fix that?
What does love mean to you?
Do you like you?
What's your favorite color?
What kind of music do you like?
What do you believe in?
Who's your favorite author/artist/musician? Why?
If you could invite anyone to dinner and conversation, who would it be? What would you serve?
I miss Mom at the strangest times, do you?
I'm afraid after Dad dies we'll go our separate ways, lose touch. Is there something I/we can do to prevent that?

No doubt my fantasy conversation would take place around the dining room table with an array of favorite foods. There would be no raised voices. We'd laugh and we cry and we'd lift each other up in ways we've never done before. And if, after all was said and done, we did go our separate ways at least we'd know the women behind the faces.

Wishing for you moments of intimacy,
Merry ME


Pamela Jones said...

As one who lives geographically separated from my brother and sisters, I know exactly what you're saying. We are not intimate in sharing the daily ins and outs of our lives -- each of us has formed friendships that don't overlap with the others. On the other hand, when the chips are down, I know who to call -- and the phone lines go both ways.

Constance said...

Dearest Merry,
Those are wonderful questions to ask.

In fact, if I could be so bold as to tentatively suggest if you like the idea : what about perhaps writing a blog post about that specific conversation with each of your sisters, one by one ?

Imagine it, see it from their points of view, their eyes. And write the dialogue between you two.

For all five of you. One after the other...

or maybe as a round robin thing, with you asking the question and the five on them answering one after the other.

I think the results would be fascinating.

AkasaWolfSong said...

Why wait Mary? Life is so short...follow your heart of course but one never knows what a day may hold.

Blessings and Much Peace!