I’m fortunate to have come from a large family, as well as being close with almost all of my siblings. But what I’ve noticed over the years, is that life has slowly pulled us a part. Our jobs, the rearing of our children, the separate vacations, and a multitude of other responsibilities leave little time for get together’s other than occasional holiday and funerals.
As we’re getting older and all crossing the half century mark I often wonder, what happened to the deep relationships we grew up with? It was filled with running together, rough housing, creating adventures from our own minds, watching them leave an marry, providing free baby sitting as their family’s grew, and long telephone conversations as your best friend started to transition out of your life. Man that SUCKS!
Now it seems were down to a few select moments centered around 50th birthdays, a holiday sprinkled in…and funerals. Even though we have certainly grown into different people after all of this…I truly miss the pure friendships with them. As a twin I again am fortunate to have a unbelievable friendship with my twin sister, and we remain thick as thieves still today. But over the last year, I found a new found friend in my eldest sister.
She had married and transitioned out of the family home during my early years, so I didn’t really get a chance to foster a relationship with her. I loved her and her husband dearly, but for some reason was just to busy for our relationship to grow. But then her husband died. At the funeral we went through the regular emotions of morning and sorrow for her loss, and then I realized that she has just lost her best friend for the past 40+ years.
At that moment I decided this was not just going to be another funeral that I attended to pay my respects for a loss. Instead I was going to take that opportunity to build the relationship I never got the change to build when we were younger. Over the past year we’ve truly gotten to know each other, and have a regular scheduled call a 6:45 am each morning. And believe it or not, it is really fun.
I’ve gotten to know about her from the time she left our home until now. She is a fascinating person that I am honored to now call my friend. As I’ve always said, “You have no choice in your siblings, but you always get to choose your friends.” And she has become a good one. Our conversations range from soup to nuts on love, health, death, taxes, family, exercise, and much much more!
The actual moral to the story is there are friendships within your own family that have never been explored for a myriad of reasons. But if you think the only work required is attending an occasional holiday or funeral is going to get it done – you’re wrong. As a real man my vote is to find the hidden gem of a good friendship within your own family.