In a recent post, I talked about my family. I kinda aired out some dirty laundry that might have taken many of you by surprise. I want to talk about one specific piece of that. I used to say I would never talk to my younger sister again. I didn’t want her in my life in any way. And that has been true for many years.
Until 2017 when our mother passed away from early-onset Alzheimer’s. I don’t know what changed, but instead of being a bitch to me and me ignoring her and being a bitch in return, my sister text me months later. She started treating me like a human. Now, I know it may sound like I am solely putting the blame for our broken relationship on her, I am not. I know I contributed, but this is my side of the story.
I decided that if I was going to open my mind and heart to a relationship with her, I would have to lay all of my hurt and feelings out on the line. So I did. Through a voice walkie talkie app. It allowed us to share our feelings and thoughts with each other and have a conversation without being in the middle of an active conversation. We were able to digest and consider what the other person had shared. I think this made all of the difference as we opened up the future of a possible relationship.
We spent months getting to know each other again and I gifted her two children their first Christmas presents from me. I still have that picture in my office and I still see them cherishing those over-sized stuffed animals. That is a wonderful feeling.
I used to say I would never talk to her again because I was protecting myself. I didn’t want to deal with any of the stress, frustration, or emotions that having a relationship with her when we were younger brought. I had built a wall and wanted to keep it fortified. I wasn’t willing to ever talk to her again.
Until I was.
A lot has happened. My sister and I started developing a friendship and I get to build a relationship with my niece and nephews. But how did we get here? Because two people opened their minds and hearts where they were previously closed. I assume she did some praying and meditating on scripture since she is more religious than I am. I also assume this change in her life probably helped open her mind as she grew. From my side, I did some targeted self-development work, meditating, and journaling. I weighed the options of letting her into my life or keeping her out. I proceeded with caution.
I didn’t want to get hurt again and I sure as hell don’t want drama in my life. I stay as far away from drama as I can. So yes, I proceeded with caution. If she didn’t, I would be surprised. I didn’t let her into every aspect of my life right away. I only talked about certain things for the first few months. I wasn’t willing to give hugs or much right away. And as time went on, I slowly opened more and more. I even invited her to our home for Thanksgiving. Then invited her to an overland expo. Then to our home again for a weekend in which we did fireworks and had a big BBQ with our friends and Eddie’s mom. We talk almost every day and if not, we don’t go more than a week without talking. In fact, I set up a weekly video chat with the kids so we can get to know each other and so we can still see each other even though we won’t be doing so in person for quite some time with the pandemic.
While I have opened my mind, home, and heart to my younger sister. I don’t foresee doing the same thing to my father and older sister, both of which I have said I never want to talk to again. Yes, a lot can happen between now and never, but some people never change. I have been pleasantly surprised by my younger sister’s changes but I have little hope that my father or older sister will ever change their ways. But that’s okay.
Even though some of us may say never and we will feel that decision will never change, we might actually change. That’s the thing with personal growth. As we grow, other people hopefully will be growing as well. And as we grow, things change in our lives, and triggers change.
So even though I used to say I would never talk to her again and anytime an extended family member tried to push it on me, I am blessed to have her, her husband, and their beautiful children in my life. I am glad never didn’t actually turn into never.