Saturday, July 16, 2016

Long Lost Friend

In a lot of ways I feel like I don't quite fit in to my generation.  
  • I like staying home with my children -- despite sometimes wondering if I'm slowly going crazy amid the chaos.  
  • Sometimes better technology is just exhausting and I want a break from it.  
  • I write old letters -- the kind with stamps and envelopes that are delivered by mailmen.  
  • I prefer my men in collars (polos work) and my women in skirts or dresses.
  • When our society is thrilled to pop a pill to fix a problem, I am more content to seek alternative fixes, give it time, tough it out, or simply put up with the situation rather than seek a prescription.
  • I love old stories -- movies and books that others find boring because of their sweet story lines with life lessons and happy endings are balm to my heart in these troubled times.
  • I believe in respect including addressing others with their title -- Dr. Sanden, Mrs. Miller, Officer Jones, Miss Jacobs, Uncle Chris, Aunt Shari.  Not only do I expect my children to address adults in this way, I introduce myself to children as Mrs. Miller and expect to be addressed as such.  I even instruct Tracey to call her 12 year old baby-sitters "Miss Addy" and "Miss Carrie" -- at the age of 2, there are very few people that Tracey should address with their first name, and anyone caring for her deserve her respect -- in action and name -- and (especially for children) its hard to show respect in action if you are addressing someone as you would a friend.  But, I digress.
I don't quite fit in my generation.
I mail holiday cards to my nieces and nephews -- and not just Christmas cards.  Yes, I send Christmas cards to many friends and family each year... but, to my nieces and nephews, I send Valentine's Cards, St. Patrick Day Cards, Easter Cards, Halloween Cards, Thanksgiving Day Cards and Birthday Cards.  To Aunts and Uncles and grandparents and great-grandparents, I send Mother's and Father's Day cards.  To many friends and family, I send anniversary cards.
This is just who I am.  I learned it from my mom, and I love getting mail -- so I love blessing others with mail, especially children, like my nieces and nephews.
But, each holiday, I notice how much of a misfit I am from my generation.
While I sit down with my children a week before a holiday, and everyone "writes a note" -- or makes some colorful mark on a holiday card to send to their cousins... often my children, holiday after holiday no card, or one from my parents, depending on the holiday.  Eventually my children are going to realize that we have a one-way mailbox... or think our mailbox only receives mail from Grammie and Papa.
All that to say...
I am at home in Michigan packing up childhood keepsakes because my parents are moving this fall.  Yesterday I came upon holiday card after holiday card -- every holiday under the sun -- written to me sent from my older sister, Tracey.
She was 21 when I was born, and so all through my baby, toddler and preschool years -- while she was in her early- and mid-twenties, she was mailing me sweet holiday cards, just like I now mail holiday cards to my nieces and nephews.
It took my breath away to feel as though I had stumbled upon a long lost friend -- a sister with whom I have more in common than I will ever know.  She died when I was 18 and I had barely begun to grow into the person I would become.
So maybe I don't fit in with my generation... but I come by it honestly.  I fit in with my family... and I take after my sister.  Without evening knowing it, I take after, and fit in with, my sister.
Were she still alive, I have no doubt, she would be sending my children holiday cards, just like she sent me thirty years ago.
Its hard to grieve memories that never happened... that never had the chance to happen... like realizing my sister really is a long lost friend.

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