Monday, 2 September 2013

The Ties That Bind

I had an opportunity today to share some time with one of my mom's brothers, Richard and his lovely wife Donna. They live in Winnipeg and were passing through Victoria before heading on a road trip down to San Francisco. As visits go it was very brief - but just seeing their faces, having an opportunity to give a hug - has a different kind of meaning to me now. They shared that they have been following this blog and that my sweet Aunt Monique in Ontario has been printing out the posts and saving them. I was very touched but couldn't help but be struck by the fact that while we have lived such separate lives - as a result of this blog they and other members of my family know so much about the person I have become - good and bad - in a way that I couldn't possibly communicate in the brief visits we've shared over the years. It is like the balance has tipped in some ways - and while I am not exactly regretful they know these things - I am also mindful that for them the experience of reading this does not represent a casual observance nor do they look at this with the curiosity of someone with whom there is no expectation of some kind of intimacy. For them, the person behind these words is family - with all that the word entails. Regardless, when I see Richard's smile it is like stepping into a familiar place with someone you may not know well, but who has been a constant in my life and someone who I can genuinely say I have always loved. He has a strength that I don't even think he realizes, a beautiful family that he has shepherded through many challenges and a kindness and humour that I have always appreciated. Sometimes family are the people you choose and sometimes they are people who share more direct ties - where some kind of closeness is not necessarily a given - but very much treasured when it is found.

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