Last month my sister and I made a trip to New York. We braved the wintry weather and drove out there with my four year old son and five year old nephew. There was never a dull moment, to say the least, and the boys for the most part enjoyed the trip. I didn’t have high expectations, for myself or my son. I packed my anxiety medication and a bottle of lavender essential oil, thinking that being out of our routine would trigger plenty of anxiety! And we were on our way; two women, two preschoolers, a map and plenty of excitement! I was in for a big surprise.
I’ve mentioned before how living with depression has led me to have many superficial relationships. Yes, I’ve talked about the weather, our families health (including mine), any interesting bit of information I’ve read, or just shared complaints (trying to move away from this : /). This has been changing as I’m learning to open up to people. I’ve been selective in who I share my vulnerable side to. Not everyone deserves to hear my story. Some won’t appreciate it, others will not understand, or worst, won’t care. So if I’ve shared this blog with you, it’s a personal invitation for you to be a part of my journey. And you can’t feel like a part of something unless you understand it.
Anyway, the difference about this trip as opposed to others we’ve made, was that we stayed with the mom of my sister’s friend. It was not something we normally do. When we have stayed over at someone’s house it’s been that of a relative. It’s something deep rooted from our childhood (a whole other story). I was nervous about how my son would behave and if it would be too much for our hostess to endure. I soon realized it was unnecessary stress on my part. She was welcoming from the moment we walked into her home. She greeted us, offered us something warm to eat and helped us get settled in.
I used to think I was a caring person. But there’s more to it than I ever imagined. People who truly care have a special way of communicating it to others. It doesn’t remain a feeling they keep to themselves. They manifest it in action. Not simply by giving or sharing what they have, but by showing personal interest. And you can’t show personal interest without asking questions, but in such a way that it doesn’t intimidate, or make the other person feel uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but open up to her. And in doing so felt a connection that, until recently, I’d only had with family. This was my surprise!
In planning for this trip I never expected to come away with a wonderful friendship. Having listened to her experiences and insight, I learned a lot more about myself that week. I also had many heart to heart conversations with my sister. Confined spaces and no where to go can do that (just kidding)! I truly enjoyed it. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about our trip. It’s amazing how people can come together, and come away encouraged. I learned that if I want to, I can steer things in a more positive direction. There’s enough negativity out there already. Why would I want to add to it and weigh anyone I’m interacting with down? I can encourage them instead!
I’m not there yet. I’m still climbing, but as I get further along, the view is becoming more beautiful. Life doesn’t seem like an endless sequence of tragedies as it once did. My friend assured us that we are strong women for having overcome what we did as children, and not letting that part of our lives destroy us as humans. We have thrived so far. Yes, there’s still much more to work on, but we have each other to lean on.
Janet, my friend, I’m glad we made that trip out your way. I’m so grateful for everything you did while we were there, but above everything else I’m thankful for your honesty, caring spirit, and hospitality.
Sensei! (Wax on, wax off!)
Celeste, I’m glad you convinced me to make this trip in the middle of winter, to a place that was just as cold and snowy as Michigan, and not some hot tropical place! It wouldn’t have been the same with any other person. But that’s what sisters are for! Thank you. ; )
Life is too short to sit around waiting for the “perfect time” to make a special trip with loved ones, or waste time worrying about the impression we will make on others. If we show them our true self, we give them the option of either wanting to get to know us better, or not.
Love you guys ; )