It’s my sister’s fault.
Alright, fine. It’s mine. I should have posted earlier this week, but my sister Jennifer is visiting from England, and we’ve spent the last few days together at a cottage in Bouchette, Quebec, far away from the internet and landlines.
It was wonderful.
There’s nothing like spending time with someone who’s known you since before you knew yourself. My sisters and brothers know ALL my flaws. They remember EVERY mistake. But they also remember every success, every joke, every trip, every joy and every sorrow.
This means that I have no choice but to be myself, completely and fully, when I’m with my two brothers and two sisters. It’s liberating to know there’s nothing left to hide and it doesn’t matter anyway. They value my strengths, help me deal with my weaknesses, and tolerate my stupidities.
The unconditional love of siblings (or best friends for the only child) is a blessing hard to put in to words, and hard to qualify except as priceless. Over the years our family has grown with spouses and children. Each new member has brought us the gift of their particular view of the world, and new insights into love, solidarity and friendship.
Families can be like complicated and unique treasure boxes, each member rubbing up against the other, sometimes producing irritation, more often (if you’re lucky like me) producing a shine. Good families are built on relationship rather than blood and DNA.
As my sister and I sat by the bonfire at midnight, gazing at a sky brilliant with stars and moon, the only thing more beautiful than the night was the knowledge of the blessings of my ever-loving, ever-changing, ever-growing family.
So I leave you with a question this week: What does family mean to you and where do you find it?