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The love of family

January 7, 2008

by Jenni Sebora

A couple of weeks ago, my mother and I were traveling to my aunt’s 80th birthday party when we received a call that “stops you in your path.”

My sister was in the hospital, very ill and in intensive care.

Your world stops for a minute when you receive information such as that, and everything else goes on hold.

Through the progression of reports on her health status, numerous tests and continuous diagnoses, which seemed to change daily, my sister is making huge steps.

As it is human nature, initially, my mind wandered to “Will I see her again?” My emotions and mind were flooded with memories of my older sister. (I have five siblings; all of whom are quite a bit older than my twin and I.)

My sister, who is gifted in the area of mathematics (which I believe she inherited from our dad)as well as creativity, can sew anything.

In fact, my sister sewed my flower girl dress for my brother’s wedding.

She sewed the majority of clothes that I wore growing up. They were clothes to boast of. I had the finest matching outfits, bell bottoms (elephant pants, as we called them) polyester, paisley. She also sewed my Barbie doll clothes, and the list goes on.

Being a creative genius, she planned and hosted couples’ wedding showers for both the bride and groom for myself, my twin, and all of my cousins. They were the most unique and personal showers, planned with much devotion and love.

And as it turned out, her daughter, my niece, was my maid of honor in my wedding.

Now that I have my own children, my sister genuinely enjoys attending my daughters’ dance recitals.

My niece, my sister’s daughter, was in dance when she was young, and my sister was an assistant to the dance instructor for many years, as well as sewing all of the costumes year in and year out.

Not only does my sister attend my daughters’ recitals, she pays close attention to my daughters, taking notes of their music and moves. After each recital, she sends them a letter through the mail delighting in how wonderful their performances were and listing the most wonderful observations about their unique performances.

My daughter smiles from ear-to-ear when she reads these letters, and each letter has become a part of her personal scrapbook. These small tokens of love that my sister gives to my children are huge in importance. Each of those special personal notes tells my children that they are unique individuals who are loved.

Family matters, and we shouldn’t forget it.

Throughout my sister’s continued recovery, I have spent much time with my niece, her daughter, and my sister’s husband, visiting with them, getting updates, connecting with them, and just supporting each other.

At the hospital one evening in particular, my twin brother, my niece, and brother-in-law spent a length of time discussing my sister’s situation, her health status, and most importantly, memories. We were providing emotional support for one another with the message that the love of family goes beyond words. It is the showing of love, and unconditional love at that.

Family matters. I try not to take family for granted. As my sister continues on her path of recovery, I will continue to emotionally and verbally take note of the wonderful meaning of family, with all of the “baggage” that may go with it.

As we know, many times it takes some major occurrence for us to regain our “consciousness” of what matters, and to not take for granted what we are blessed with.

As we have begun a new year, maybe that’s a resolution for all of us – to not only count our blessings but to acknowledge them, not forget them, and take action in some way to show they “count” the most!

“We learn to love by being loved unconditionally.”

– Linda & Richard Eyre, authors of “Teaching Your Children Values.”