This is skewed to reduce the glare, but is one of the family photos that used to hang on the wall at Mom’s
I could no more write about only one of my five siblings than I could name a favorite sibling or child. There are stories to tell, of course. Some funny. Some dark. Some happy. Some sad. But I could not choose just one.
So I thought to take a moment to write about how this past year, the second since we became orphaned by losing our mother–our last remaining parent, I have felt compelled to make greater effort to extend myself to my siblings.
I’m one of two who has lived in vicinity of Mom, who has been our center since Dad died over 30 years ago. It didn’t require much effort to see my siblings. They came to Mom, and therefore to me.
But our sense of that physical center–our hub–dissipated with Mom’s passing and the selling of her home, which, though neither of of our childhood homes, is the home the next generation remembers best. And where our families have gathered together for the past several years. The geographical center is now the Meridian-Boise, Idaho area. Two brothers live there and it’s the shortest drive for my Portland brother, my Coeur d’Alene sister, and my Spanish Fork brother and my Provo self.
I find myself drawn there whenever I can get away. When my sister needed to be there with her son for soccer, I went so I could catch 3 of the 5.
Earlier this summer when oldest son and his wife wanted to go to Portland for a friend’s wedding, I offered to drive them. We stopped in Meridian coming and going, and again I hit 3 of 5.
When my brother bought a ranch in Emmett after going through a painful divorce, I went up again. The pretense was to offer help with his move. But mostly it was because I needed to give him a hug and see for myself that he was going to be ok.
Finally getting into cell phone range after a visit to girls camp a couple of months ago, I was excited to learn by text that not one, but two of my brothers–or at least part of one’s family (Portland and Meridian) were coming here. I threw together a Sunday dessert which my local brother’s family joined after just returning from a weekend in Wyoming. Three of five.
My brother Keith sends us photos of his family and their visits throughout the beautiful NW from whence we came. My brother Jon reaches out with photos of his growing herd of cows. My brother R.D. and sister Jayne Anne draw me out when my heart has curled up into a ball for whatever reason and I’ve not properly responded to any random bit of news. My brother Justin and his family host us–serving as our new hub any time any one of us is traveling through. Each has his or her own way of reaching out to maintain those ties that deeply bind us, but which now require a few more miles, a little more effort to maintain.
It’s so worth it.
They have my heart.
[Day 17 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]