This past weekend, we traveled to NC to visit my family. We hadn't been there since early June when my newest nephew was born and I was SO ready to see them.
I had only one goal for this trip. I wanted to be able to spend time with my siblings all together, just to catch up. On the evening that we arrived, my Brother's soon to be father in law passed away and at that point, I was pretty sure our gathering would not include my Brother since he'd want to be with his fiance. In the end, we were able to work it out and I'm so thankful that it did.
I'm the oldest of four in our family. Growing up, there was almost six years between myself and my younger sisters (they are twins). I was almost nine when my brother came along. That's a pretty large age difference to kids so I was into completely different things since I was so much older. As adults, I am the only one who doesn't live in the same town with my parents, the town where we all grew up. Again, this could make things sticky in sibling relationships but somehow, we have made it past the years and miles to be completely supportive and loving with each other.
As we sat together having coffee this weekend, I felt such contentment being with them. I studied each of their faces as we talked and I was flooded with memories. I haven't been able to spend much time with my brother for the past year and I've missed him so much. I watched him talk and laugh and the reality that he is now a man hit me. When I married, he was almost fourteen and still in middle school. I think I've tried for almost nine years to keep him there and he's now a grown man with responsibilities and facial hair.
The three people at that table with me on Sunday know me better than anyone except for Big Daddy. They have seen me at my best and at my worst. They've loved me through both. I count on them to be honest with me, even if it isn't pretty. In the past year, there have been a few times when family issues have come up and you know what? We've rallied and become one heck of a team through it. We've been through things together that could have ripped us apart as a family but instead, they made us closer. My sister said something this weekend as we left Starbucks that stuck in my heart and will be my prayer for my own children.
She said, "No matter what we were going through or how hard things got when we were growing up, I always knew it would be fine because we had each other."
I needed to hear that reminder at that moment. As adults, we have our own families, we get busy and life gets in the way but I needed to be reminded that it's worth it to make the effort to remain close. For me, that means more trips out of state (or country depending on where we live next) and more phone calls, cards and emails. It's so worth it.