My niece is graduating from high-school today and that means that just over 18 years ago my whole life changed. My sister was young, pregnant, and scared and she called a family meeting. She wanted to give her daughter the best life possible and she wanted to create a solid family for her but she had no idea how. We were not a solid family and she was asking us for help but more than that she was asking us to change.
My Mom took in my sister’s request and not too long after she called and invited us to a weekend seminar. No details, just dates, and a request to be there and that it was important. I had no idea what to expect. I knew this was about supporting my sister and possibly working out some of our family stuff. I was 19 at the time and away at college so I drove the 5 hours home to be there. It wasn’t supposed to be about me at all.
That weekend changed everything. We had the most real conversations we’d ever had in our lives. We shared, we cried, we apologized, we forgave, we hugged really hard and laughed our asses off. It was healing and cathartic and special. It also planted the seed in my heart to do the work that I do today. It would take me 10 more years to find my path but it all started there.
A few months later my niece was born and she arrived into a family that she had unknowingly completely and deeply changed. She has been a blessing to us all ever since. This year she will be the one going off to college and to my delight it will be to the same place I went to college and where I live now – Santa Barbara. I love when life brings everything full circle. An ending and a beginning. There is a beauty and a sadness to it.
I hope that sharing this personal story with you inspires or reminds you to ask for what you want. Nothing would be the way it is today if my sister hadn’t sat us all down and asked for change. It was vulnerable and brave and that’s exactly the kind of thing we need to do more often, including me.