21 Days

Last summer, my brother, my sister, and I, with our respective families in tow, converged on my father’s house for a week of rest and relaxation in sunny California. It was a much anticipated—and needed—family reunion. I hadn’t seen my sister, who lives in Indiana, in a couple of years. It had been even longer since I’d seen my brother, who resides in Washington. And we hadn’t all been together since my wedding almost a decade earlier. The week was nothing less than amazing. We ate. We drank. We laughed. Our kids got to spend quality time with their cousins, splashing in the pool and playing video games. And at moments, it felt like our mother, who passed away in 1998, was overseeing the whole event, still the loving matriarch of a closely knit family, bound together by affection, respect, and enough disagreements, arguments, and spats to rival any family.

But as anyone over the age of thirty with brothers or sisters can attest, spending time with your siblings as adults is surreal. At the most odd of moments, images of your childhood almost hijack your consciousness. You remember specific moments as children, both good and bad. You literally see your brothers and sisters—as they were years ago— in the eyes and actions of their children. (“She looks just like you” and “he acts like his daddy” were two of many refrains echoed over and over throughout the week.) And you wonder where all the time went. If you’re not careful, you’ll even find yourself holding back a tear or two. It’s okay— normal and healthy, even— to let those tears flow, but I’ll get to that in a later post. Read more of this post