Friday, August 03, 2007

Family [CCR]

My world has certainly changed with my little girl out of the house. As I write she is flying back from Greece and then she will enter college. For Cindy and me it is a mixed emotion that all parents go through because Chrissie is living out plans we set in motion many years ago. I watch the boys interact with their sister gone. They miss her, especially as a third party intercessor in their disagreements. But I think they also remember the many talks we had about the meaning of “family” and they know she will be there.

My sister and I have that sort of relationship. We may not have always agreed, but I don’t remember a real argument. We wrestled, we laughed, and sometimes we even cried as one. We didn’t always hang out together, after all she was three years older than me. But she never abandoned me either. More than once she fiercely came to my defense.

Eventually Susan left home for college, and in this case, the big city. She was moving to Birmingham. I am sure she was anxious, but I was immensely impressed. Susan and her friend, Debbie Keeton, moved into Cripple Creek Apartments on the south side of Birmingham. Together with Debbie’s family we gathered furnishings and supplies, loaded them onto trucks, and struck out for Birmingham.

After unpacking the vehicles we visited a mall just down the street from the apartments. I had never seen a two story mall and certainly not one with a parking garage. I can still see Mr. Keeton standing at the top of the big escalator lighting a fancy cigar he had just purchased in a tobacco shop.

Leaving Susan behind in Birmingham was difficult for me. I didn’t know how Mom and Dad felt, but I assume it wasn’t much different from me setting Chrissie free. We all knew we had given her everything she needed in that big city. But we didn’t have the fancy cell phones, e-mail, or unlimited long distance calling many of us enjoy today. To me Susan was as distant as moving to New York, but it wasn’t really that drastic.

Susan and Debbie made it through those years and now Susan has moved home to Cherokee. We stay in contact with almost daily phone calls. In a month I will be only a couple of hours away. And today we both know we will do whatever it takes to help the other one. Our relationship is the example I wish my children to follow through life.

Through my many adventures I have met people all over the world. I have learned that you can extend your family, an honored status. In my case I was lucky to inherit a family member such as my sister. She sat a high standard for me to elevate others to my family circle. Once someone has reach that plateau it is important that you remember at the end of the day you will always have family.

Today, if I call Susan will answer. She knows I will always be there as well. Such is the desire for my children, to always have somewhere to turn when life’s troubles approach. In life we learn lessons that help us stay sane in our short visit to this existence. The family relationship with my sister is one of those lessons.