Sisters… Thanks to My {Dad}

“Nark, Nark, Nark!” chanted all the girls in my fourth grade class.

Ears blushed red.

Tear-stung eyes.

Head bowed low.

Disgraced.

An innocent attempt at finding my place in the soft-ball line up led to this awful moment.

The moment when I decided girls were not good friends… and never to have any again.

The moment when all of the boys took pity on me… ushered me into the shadow of their wings and offered all that the brothers I’d always wished for (but never had) could…

And I became one of them.

Sorta.

For the next ten years (at least) guys were my best friends. Then in college, my dad began encouraging me to find a girl-friend. I was ready to try it again… and did! I ended up with all best guy-friends… and one girl-friend. It was a start!

Life carried on… and for the sake of not appearing “boy crazy” (I’d never dated one of my best friends… or any friend for that matter)… I began to spend more time with girls.

Then I got married.

Then I needed women.

In a way I’d never experienced before.

This man… my husband… just couldn’t relate with me on every level… and I needed a woman’s heart to confide in.

Well, beautifully enough, my dad has adopted LOTS of children… and I have a great number of sisters. He began to introduce me to them… and, well,  I love them.

Drama and all.

Well, I don’t love the drama… but I love the women behind the drama. Because my dad has taught me how to love in spite of discomfort, pain, frustration, personality differences… and to hope for the same from others when I’m the one being difficult to love.

Confession: Because I took the risk (it sure felt like a risk when my dad asked me to get to know and love women)… I have some of the best relationships with my sisters I could ever ask for.

And they are all over the world.

Some I see daily, some on Skype, some only on Facebook… but I love them as much as I did during the seasons of life when I lived with them.

[slideshow]

Joanna and Christine in Canada.

Sofia in Sweden.

Liz in Paraguay.

Hava, Christina, Kara, Laura, Heather, Brittani, Dawnette… in various states around the U.S.

Sisters 🙂 Dorina, Chris, Heather, Maari, Lisa, Jamie, Debbie, Bethany, Amy, Cori, Bergann, Stacie, Leslie, Jessica, Lisa, Sarah, Regina, Katie, Beth, Trae, Allison, Mindy, Rachel, Niki, Raquel, Devon, Colleen, Jill…

My little sisters: Laura, Wendy, Promise, Stephanie…

My big sisters: Michelle, Serena, Caroline, Kim, Lucie, Susan, Kathryn, Chris, Gail…

Newest sisters: Susan, Kara, Debbie, Cammy, Melissa, Nina, Lesley, Staci, Melody, Jennifer, Allison, Ashley, Elva, Elena, Brandi, Viane, Lara, Valerie…

This list is by no means exhaustive… and it’s late so I’m probably missing some of the most obvious ones… but the point is… I have the most amazing circle of sisters because my dad knew I needed them in my life.

And I took the risk.

The risk of being shamed, slandered, abandoned, betrayed, separated (by distance), deceived, hurt…

And found love.

And love sometimes hurts. But if it’s true… then it doesn’t depend on being in the same place at the same time.

And it can love through pain.

Until healing comes.

And it’s worth it.

I would do it all over again. Because they make me smile. And cry. They hug me when it’s hard. They trust me with their deep places. They let me help when I can. And they are generous with their time, resources, and energy when I need it too. They love my children like only aunts can do… and have provided “sisters” for my own daughters… delightful little friendships that make my heart smile deeply.

They invite me in.

And it’s a precious trust. To be handed the key to one’s deepest fears… and not use it.

This is the joy I have.

And one I hope for you.

That as a woman who has felt the searing pain of a broken friendship, the betrayal of another woman’s unfaithfulness to friendship and the thing that makes it sacred, the deep loss and grief of goodbye…

I pray you find the strength to try again. To love relentlessly. Laugh contagiously. Soak the shoulder with your tears when you need to.

Take the risk. Choose well.

Sisters make our time on life bearable.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.

-C.S. Lewis

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 13 of 31 Days in 2012.

The Union of Voice

One of my favorite sounds on earth is the low rumble and hum of conversation- as it blends in a union of voice, filled with laughter, and without pause for breath.

The sound of family.

It triggers deep memories- the memories of a very young child napping in another room, comforted by the tones of security as loved ones mingled. Distant. Faint.

Most of my life consisted of two parents and younger sister. A strange void in the hum.

Now that I’m married, I have Aunts, Uncles, and many, many cousins.

My heart soars.

I know that the bigger the family the more potential for drama. I’m unfazed. Perhaps because this “new” family of mine is far more beautiful than dramatic. Even now, as I type, I am comforted by the low tune of their conversations. Conversations about loved ones passed on, growing up in a different era, lessons learned through time and experience, and the laughter that comes after years have healed pain and tears have turned into wisdom.

Parents, once children, now guide and train their own. New memories form that the future adults will share with one another over a great Thanksgiving feast, while their own children are comforted in other rooms by the sounds of love and family.

The hum carries through the generations. The united voices change as it’s members pass into eternity and the next generation fills their place in the music of celebration and togetherness.

Sit back, close your eyes, and let the hum fill you.

If you don’t have a large family (like I didn’t) the same notes can be heard among loving friends.

Listen for it. Move to it.

Join it.

Life from a Thinker’s Perspective

Part 3 of “Feelings from a Thinker’s Perspective”
Read Part 1 HERE
Read Part 2 HERE

When I started out on this three part journey I had no idea what Part 3 would entail. I just knew that all good blogs have one (lol ☺). Not that this alone makes a good blog…

But the other night it hit me like a brick. I knew what I’d be writing.

Life from a Thinker’s perspective.

Last week my oldest had a stomach bug. My youngest got Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. My 3 year-old began to complain of a stomachache. My world of perfect health was being rocked…. in the same way that my one year-old loves to rock babies in their carseats… with really good intentions, love, and a LOT of turbulence.

Even though their illnesses were really small compared to the possibilities of disease out there, it was enough to shock me back to my senses. I could have let the feelings overwhelm me and become an over-protective, over-antibacterializing, over-everything kind of person. Instead, I sat back and reflected on these feelings and found the cause.

I take my family’s health for granted.

Not every day.

But on many.

How easily I assume that we will all stay well and be long-living if A. B. and C. are in place. We eat healthily. Drink healthily. Live healthily. We’ve got it covered, right? But even this is not truly in our control. I’ve known super active and healthy people to die on the spot of aneurisms. Or heart attacks. Okay, it’s not the norm, but it has happened.

And it could happen to me. I could be looking my lively child in the face when the phone rings. Brain Tumor. Cancer. Car accident. NameYourDisease. NameYourAccident.

I know that this has happened to some of you. I’m sure you rarely take life for granted. (It’s happened to me too, but not with a spouse or child or my own parent).

Again, I could have let this feeling and realization leave me feeling hopeless, overwhelmed, and forever terrified of the ringing phone, knock on the door, walking outside of my house.

Instead I chose to consider what can be done.

I can choose to live presently in every single moment that I am given with my kids. With my loved ones. How easily I forget this and begin to resent my family for being… my family! Because I just swept that or I’m trying to get the laundry done or could I please just pay this bill or write this book or… or… or…

And then that moment comes. And they are gone. And I have all the time in the world to do those things. Anyone can clean my house or do my laundry. But only I can be their mother. Be his wife.

The weight of days wasted feels so heavy. The hope of days yet to come feels so light and free.

That next morning I burned my to-do list. My two toddlers and I made ice cream in baggies, practiced fishing in the swimming pool, played in the water-park in our yard, looked for bugs…. Lived.

Together.

Presently.

No resentment.

Just the loving eyes of my kids, while I have them, a day lived.

My husband and older two kids came home. The floors were un-swept. The laundry was still sitting in the basket. I was putting the dishes away as I cooked dinner.

“Whoops, you caught me trying to make it look like I’ve kept the house up all day!” I laughed as he walked in. Then I told him what I had done.

And you know what? He didn’t care about all the stuff left to do. He simply entered the moment with us. Set down his work stuff. Grabbed our kids. And burned his to-do list too.

Living presently.

Why waste it worrying? Fretting? Trying to change the things I can’t?

Instead I choose to live NOW. My house will get clean (during nap times and bed times). But more importantly, my kids will know I love them. And we will all enjoy each other to the fullest while it’s ours to enjoy.

What will you choose? What does it look like for you to choose now?


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