By Susan Dunn, MA, Life Coach
"To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time." --Clara Ortega
I'm going to see my sister this weekend. I haven't seen her for a year or so. This is my little sister.
She's an accomplished attorney and mother of 5. She's also bigger than I am, in both height and weight, by quite a bit, but she remains my "little sister."
The last time we were together we went to have lunch down on the River. Chairs were scarce at the outdoor restaurant and I pulled one over for her to sit in. A man reached over to grab it, and I surprised myself. Usually mild-mannered, I barked at him like a school marm, "Take your hand off my sister's chair!" My "little" sister looked puzzled and then smiled as we both went back in time. You see I am still defending her.
I feel different as I approach this visit -- lighter, younger, more myself. They say we keep all our ages inside of us, and I am going back to some age -- I'm not sure what -- but some earlier time when we were kids together and I held her hand to walk her across the street, and brushed her auburn curls. She had a face like a little Kewpie doll and she was, in fact, a live doll to me. Mom said she didn't walk until she was 18 months old because my other sister and I were always carrying her around.
As the holidays approach and you'll be reuniting with family keep in mind this quote from Gail Buckley: "Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and future. We make discoveries about ourselves."
And as we watch the articles appear on the Internet about how to handle the holiday family squabbles, and struggle with continuing world tensions, we have a great opportunity. As Mother Theresa said: "What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."
It isn't always easy, but then a family is a place to learn to love, and a world could be too.
There are continual opportunities to learn to accept mistakes, to appreciate differences, to focus on the positive and the commonalities, to forgive, to practice kindness and respect, and to discover. The key is to practice these things. You don't need a reason.
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