The other day I asked a patient that I was caring for who they had with them (a normal question we ask all patients) as they sat there alone in the pre-op room, assuming that even though they were there alone their family would come later. “Will someone be here to pick you up after surgery then”, I asked. “No, I don’t have anyone”, they responded. Now most often I think that I am fairly quick on the uptake, but my slow meter was clearly in overdrive this particular day. “Oh, so no one that could travel with you, any friends or family”, I asked. “Um no, I just don’t have anyone. I am an only child and most of my family is gone, and I didn’t want to intrude on my friends”, they replied. Ouch. This has happened before, but each time it always takes me a little by surprise. And each time I want to bang my head on the counter for digging perhaps a bit too far, although we always evaluate this to be sure our patients are safe once they leave us. This has always given me pause. Always, and each makes me so thankful for all the people who are blessing in my life.
I couldn’t imagine a life void of my siblings for one. We share so much, and have shared so much. I look back at when we were young and giggle because I am quite certain that everyone loved coming to our house as there was chaos on every level. One such chaotic memory, a couple of my younger siblings had friends over and our house was busting at the seams with activity. My dad (who had stayed home from the farm this particular day) was vacuuming and the thing with dad was when he turned the vacuum on it ran ALL. DAY. LONG.
We would go upstairs to find dad dancing with the vac….okay, not really.
But often we wouldn’t find him with the vacuum, it would be running in the blue room, with dad in the green room (Chads room) organizing all of Chad’s collectibles (matchbox cars, farm stuff, animals, etc. We would turn the vacuum off to ask him something, only to get halfway down the stairs and hear dad turn it back on. And yes, our house was definitely NOT The White House with the Gold Room etc, but we did have color coded rooms. See, when we were young my dad would say things like, “go up to the north room and get the blah blah”. and we would say, “OKAY..(start going) only to turn around and say “which room is the north room?”. This continued for some time, dad trying hard to geographically orient his children (it only worked on Randy btw), the rest of us were finally like….”dad, give us colors…the blue room (blue carpet)…the green room (green carpet)…and yes, we did have a gold room (yep, gold carpet) but think All in Family and not The West Wing! I did finally give up, and so the house became color coded.
Down on the main level, more chaos. Doors slamming, people fighting and similar toe-head looking people (us siblings) talking in raised voices, all trying to over talk the next one.
As we got older, I could look at my sisters and with just a glance, we could read each others minds, and usually just bust out laughing. Any gathering has always been a bit interesting with the Anderson girls in action. Sometime when we were all home, one of us would say, “mom’s on another one of her kicks” (aka a remodeling project) and we would give each other a knowing glance because that meant a whole lot of yelling and screaming. Mother had great vision, but zero patience. My friends always thought her so talented, we thought her one crayon short of a full box. Like the times she would bust out in song….at the top of her voice….in front of our friends….
It sorta like the the guy at Costco, the sample guy here in Rochester, as you walk by he starts singing why you should have a sample….and I just try to not make eye contact. Back in the day when mom bust out in song, I am pretty sure our friends were like….
But for better or worse, those were our parents. Honestly, our house was always open to our friends, and they did come, although I swear it was only be completely entertained and panic-stricken all at once. Most likely a adrenaline rush knowing when they left they survived a “night at the Anderson house”.
We shared tons of heartache, and moments of complete joy but most of all, we grew up realizing that we had each other. Of course through the years there were times where we tried to choke each other, and lock each other in dark creepy crawl spaces BUT you can bet that if someone else tried to choke one of us or shove us in dark creepy places, we were the first to rescue them. AND then of course, tease the hell out of them to no end that we had to rescue them.
We have not always agreed. We have not always understood each others hurts. And we have not always echoed each other’s sentiments BUT we can see each others side.
We live in a present that is marred by the past. Recently, one of our siblings was deeply hurt because a part of their past that is truly unforgivable, was misunderstood by some of us. But with all things, we could talk about and realize that they should hurt, and that is okay if they cannot forgive past wrongs. Their memories are relevant, and their past more haunted. BUT most importantly, we can just love the hell out of each other NOW! And we do! And we always will!
It is conversations like the one that I had with my patient that make me realize just how damn blessed I am! I read an article once. It basically said that our siblings are our true life partners, and the truth in that is EPIC! We are born together, raised together, live our lives together and in the end, we will die together. Everyone else comes at different times: our parents start with us but leave too soon. Our children come later and we leave them too soon. But our siblings (the ones we are thankful we still have, realizing that they too can go too quickly: Daren) are with us from the beginning, through the middle and to our end.
So often my co-workers are mesmerized by my stories of my brothers and sisters. The fact that I see some daily, I text other almost daily and always I think of them. The fact that I work my Ally and that Chad works in my same general area are always “weird” to people, and they cannot conceive of our closeness. So often I hear people say “I could never work with my sibling, we don’t get along”…and that breaks my heart. More than that, it is something that I cannot conceive of to not have my siblings ever in my life. They make me laugh more than other people in my life (of course us sisters are all dying at Dawn’s ‘busta-moves’ but notice the boys are like…we are not related)!
The blessings in our lives are everywhere. The importance to remind ourselves how different it could be, and at least for me, for the worse without my com-padres in crime (siblings) throughout the years. I look forward to when we are all old. We are gonna get together with our walkers, compare old people aches, play cards (God help me, I hate cards but it seems like all old people do that) around a card table. And talk about how the younger generation “has no clue” as they never had to “walk up hill both ways in a blizzard to school” or how there was a time that the “only phones to be had were tethered to a wall in your home and not these new fangled cell phones”.
Definitely my siblings are my peeps.