Friends, this next story in the Radiant series is particularly special to me. Not because it was written by my sister. And not because I'm in the story. But because it's an event that I remember so, so clearly. I've thought about it from time to time since it happened and, though it was a difficult time, I so much appreciated hearing it told from my sister's perspective.
I think that's part of what's so beautiful about family: these collective memories, each told from different perspectives, in unique voices. But with the same messages. And hopefully those messages, like this one, are of love.
When I think of love, I think of family. I think of the amazing family I grew up in.
Lately, I've been watching a lot of the show, "Parenthood" and I can't help but be reminded of my family when I watch. See, my family is really close and we take care of each other in lots of ways. We support each other through everything. When one of my cousins has some kind of sporting event, the entire family goes. We have family dinners all of the time and spend every holiday with at least 15 people and usually more. My cousins are more like brothers and sisters because we grew up with them. My great aunt was more like a 2nd grandmother to me. My mother's cousins are like aunts and uncles to me. And that is where I grew up learning about love.
My cousin Maddy, Em, and Me
We all make mistakes in our lives and go through hard times and do things that we wish we could take back. I am no exception. When I was a senior in college, I made some pretty stupid choices and put my family in some pretty awful positions. I've never forgiven myself for the selfish way in which I acted, even though I know I learned so much about myself and about my family during that time.
For the purposes of this story, it doesn't matter what the incident was, but suffice it to say it was an incident that had me totally scared, my mother furious, and my sister caught in the middle. I had learned some information (that later turned out to be false) that really scared me. My mother was furious because she couldn't believe I could have gotten myself into such a stupid predicament, but I also think she was scared as well (and rightfully so). Her reaction to the information was to get upset with me and keep asking me how I could have let myself get into this mess. As she continued talking, my anxiety level rose and my tears turned into hyperventilating.
And in the middle, was my sister. I could tell she didn't know what to do but she knew she had to do something.
She took my mom in another room and told her that getting upset with me wouldn't help right now. Then, she took me into my bedroom and told me to just breathe.
My mom called my aunt to come and try to calm me down and she was there in no time. Seriously, I think she must have driven 75 mph the 5 miles to our house because I turned around and she was there.
My aunt Marta and my mom with our cousins from Mexico
I will never forget the way my sister acted to calm me down and the way my aunt just held me and told me everything was going to turn out fine.
During our younger years, my sister and I never got along. We were completely different people. I was an athlete but also a major home body. My sister was a little socialite with a million friends all over the state and would leave at a moment's notice to go and hang out with this person or that person.
When she stepped in the middle of this situation, I was sure she'd take my mother's side. But she didn't. She knew exactly what my mother and I both needed in that exact moment.
Em and Me
My aunt barely had to say anything to me. Just being there was enough. She has always been there and I feel so lucky to have such a close relationship with her. She was the perfect person to come and calm me down.
And even though in that moment, my mother was upset with me, I knew just how much she loved me. She was upset because of her love. She was upset because she couldn't bear to see me hurting that way. And that's something I will always appreciate about my mother. She will do anything to make sure her children aren't hurting.
Me and my mama on my wedding day. Photo courtesy of Russell Caron Photography.
When my sister asked me to write about a fleeting moment where I was able to see love, I had no idea what to write about. And I think the reason why is because in my life, love doesn't happen in fleeting moments. Love happens all of the time. And I have my family to thank for that.
My mum, my sister and I all love the show Parenthood. It's just as Erin said, it reminds us so much of our own family. Struggles, disagreements, but a strong willingness to see it through, to stay committed as a family and to be there. No matter what. And we have an awesome sense of humor, so there's that, too.