ONE IMPORTANT LESSON SIBLINGS TEACH US …..
An odd topic or me to write about since I never had any siblings, but some recent occurrences and relationships are taking me back to a very simple statement made to me 17 years ago. I remember the number of years because the event coincided with the devastating fires of 1998 in Central Florida. Dee and her husband (for the life of me I cannot remember his name) were quite elderly and living in a section of Palm Coast, Florida that was being evacuated. Dee was a school volunteer of mine. Many of my volunteers turned out to be special people who through the years would teach me many valuable lessons. Dee was one of them. I was worried about her and her husband and offered up my home to them as a temporary refuge. Those were frightening times.
As we huddled together in my home we were not sure how safe we really were. Smoke filled the air and hot ash fell coating our cars and homes as we wished a gentle rain would. My neighborhood, so close to the ocean, was not evacuated but I knew that fires were capable of jumping bodies of water if they’re hot enough. Feeling we were safe because the intracoastal waterway separated my home from the fire gave us a false sense of security. Fires have a personality of their own and are not to be disrespected or taken lightly. I digress!
I was recently divorced at the time and wanted very much to marry again, or at least meet my soul mate with whom to share the rest of my life with and, being open, I talked to Dee about hoping to settle down again. We had a lot of time on our hands and Dee was as chatty and open as I was (and am). I was looking for that ‘last first kiss’?? You know what I mean?
It was all so simple to Dee. She simply said in that wise octogenarian voice of hers, “Dear … your problem is that you never really learned how to fight. Fighting fair or not fair doesn’t really matter. Rarely does anyone fight fair all the time. What matters is that you learn to fight … or at least express yourself … say what’s on your mind without worrying about the repercussions or how the other person will respond or react. No sugar coating. Because you know that in the end the love will still be there. You never learned about unconditional love, no matter what was said. That’s what we learn from our siblings, not our parents. You worry too much about what others think and how they’ll react.”
Dee certainly didn’t know everything and her sentiment may not hold true at all to many of the other only children out there. But, to me it had merit. Food for thought obviously as it still resonates within me after all these years.
That was a long time ago but as I continue to live my life to its fullest I think often of Dee’s comment as I create new relationships and rekindle old ones. It’s taken a long time and I’m not always able to do it, but more often than not I am now able to say what’s on my mind. I do try to say it nicely and to always be kind, but I can’t worry about whether or I intimidate people or whether my comments push them away. If I push them away then we wouldn’t have been good together anyway, as lovers or as friends. I continue to learn to be comfortable in my not only my own skin but my own mind. For better or for worse I am who I am. We all choose, consciously or subconsciously, who we’d like to spend our time with. Hopefully we’re all able to keep relationships that require ‘tip toeing’ around to a minimum. That’s so exhausting, isn’t it? And, to what avail?
I didn’t have siblings to learn to fight with but over the last several years (and I thank my RV’ing for the opportunities this lifestyle has presented) I’ve met new people and reconnected with others who I consider my pseudo siblings (once removed, of course … ) with whom I can be completely myself. It’s never too late to learn … We are all a work in progress and I continue to be grateful for every day that allows me to opportunity to continue to grow and spread my wings.