I grew up with an older sister and younger brother, each of us separated two years apart. My brother and I were very close as young children; the older we got, the closer my sister and I became, especially when we each started having children. My youngest daughter and my sister's middle daughter were born on the same day...5 hours apart. We affectionately call them the Twin Cousins. My brother enjoyed his bachelorhood and didn't marry until he was in his mid-30's. He was my rock when I was going through my divorce. Now that he has young children and mine are (almost) grown, he comes to me with questions and asks for guidance.
We all live within an hour of each other -- my parents, my aunt, and my siblings. Because of our busy lives we don't get together all that often. My mom's kitchen is our place to grab some coffee and get catch up on what's going on in our lives. We talk about the past, present, and future. I know I can always rely on them to give me the best advice, a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen to, or to share a laugh with. Always.
A few days ago I received an email from my mom. We had all been at her home a few weekends ago. My mother is such an incredible writer...she writes with elegance and style and you can't help but feeling all warm and cozy after reading her letters (now it's emails). She mentioned how wonderful it was for her to see all three of her children in her kitchen, helping to prepare dinner. My first thought was, "well, that's what we always do!", but then I thought about it from her vantage point. Here were all her children, all sharing space and laughing and talking with one another. What an incredible feeling for a mother!
And then I got to experience that same feeling this past weekend. My middle child celebrated her 17th birthday. She wanted her favorite meal (tacos and gourmet cupcakes from a bakery in town) and go to a movie. So, my three kids and I had dinner, cupcakes, gifts, and went to see a movie. The movie was average, but what fun we had! The next day, my son took his sister to her first R-rated movie (she plays by the rules, this girlie of mine!). He told me how cute it was when she whipped out her ID! And the following day, all 4 of us played on the Wii and wrapped up the weekend by watching the Oscars. My son (who is in college) very easily could have begged off the family stuff, but instead wanted to stick around for his sister's birthday weekend festivities.
This morning was "one of those mornings," where it seemed the clock was going at warp speed. As I dashed through the kitchen, I noticed a bag on the counter. When I peeked inside, I saw enough food packed for several meals. Of course...my youngest had a lacrosse game after school in Colorado Springs (an hour and a half away) and wouldn't be home until late. Her older sister had lovingly packed a lunch, dinner, snacks, and a water bottle for her.
At this point, I think I might just scare my kids if I called a "family meeting" to discuss how important their relationship with each other is. How they will always need to rely on each other, use one another as sounding boards, to make decisions together regarding elderly parents, accept new spouses into the family, etc. No, better to sit back and let them foster their own relationships. They seem to be doing just fine on their own...
Me and my siblings in 1974.