Valentines day, and I didn't know what to write...I had decided not to write. So much of what I thought of seemed obvious. I love my husband....he is my best friend, my partner in crime & the kind of father I always wanted for my kids. My kids...there is nothing about them that isn't beautiful in my eyes. It would be an understatement to say that they define and re-define the meaning of love for me every day...they teach me about love every day.
Then something happened today that helped me remember a different side of love. If you read my last blog, you know that I recently got to know my dad again after 26 years. What you don't know is that in the midst of this, my sister and I hit a little turbulence. She is 18 months older than me and we have always been very close. We have shared the loss of connection with our dad and have been there for each other in a fierce way all of our lives.
Before my dad's visit we had a few discussions about it. It was I who had gotten back in touch with him. It was I who had made his visit a possibility. Because of this I had no expectations for my sister to be involved in the visit. However, she and I had a very heartfelt talk in which she let me know that she wanted to go to dinner with our dad and myself. She brought up the importance of us doing this together as sisters & I really liked what I heard.
Once our dad was here, she understandably got cold feet and felt very opposed to seeing him. As I listened to her on the phone I felt really disappointed, even thought I simultaneously realized that it was most important for her to do what she knew was right. So here I was with half of me supporting her in knowing what felt right, and half of me feeling angry and very let down. While my dad's visit was 100% a good thing and something I am proud of and grateful for, it was also exhausting and overwhelming. I went through an entire array of emotions during our time together, and I used up a lot of energy trying to adjust and observe myself at this time. The truth is that, I really would have liked my sisters support, so I was a bit caught up in myself.
After my dad left, I was left feeling angry and upset with my sister for much longer than I was comfortable with. I didn't know what to do, and I had a lot of ideas that felt like they were born out of insecurity. What came to me at this time was the wisdom that it was a good time to shut up and wait awhile. For that reason, I gave myself a time out and did not contact my sister for awhile. I knew in my heart that she knew how I felt and that we were both probably licking our wounds. For this reason, it was hard to stay away, but it was the right thing, also.
Our first time seeing each other since then was today, Valentines day. The idea of seeing my niece and nephew on this day was enough to tantalize me beyond my personal, insecure thinking. My sister, in her own sweet way, offered to make a delicious dinner for us...a peace offering that might be overlooked by others. Because I know my sister, I also knew that this is how she takes care of people. There were really no need for words at this point. I was so grateful that I hadn't spoken to her earlier in all of my righteousness and judgement.
On the drive to her house, I began to let some insecurities in. I was imagining what I might say to her...how I might express my disappointment while still holding on to the wisdom that I actually create my own experience. Obviously, no clear answers came...except that I should not have a plan. So, instead I just showed up and let my heart lead. I hugged my niece and nephew tight...I had missed them a lot during our break from each other. I also missed my sister. I realized she was sick and still cooking for me. I realized her kids had been sick and that I didn't even know that they had been struggling.
On this evening I was literally overflowing with love for her. We felt no need to talk about our dad, and there was not a lull in our conversation. What was apparent was our connection and our love for each other. It was unexpected, and therefore such a delight. I was aware that we had forgiven each other many times before, as siblings must do, but this time it felt very graceful.
I know that the insight I had to not respond to her right away was my saving grace. I'm thankful that I have somehow learned to pay attention to my own wisdom. I know that my sister and I would have survived if I had chosen to word-vomit all over her, but I am incredibly thankful that I knew better.
Here's to love...all kinds of love. You don't need romance to celebrate this day. Love is so powerful and it has many different disguises. I hope in your way that you express and experience it in a way that surprises and delights you. And to my sister, if you're reading this, I love you just the way you are!