My sisters and I may have four different hair colors, but we all have the same fiery spirit on the inside. Somehow, not a single one of us turned out with a passive bone in our bodies. I guess it’s because the apples don’t fall far from the tree, and both Mom and Dad are as gritty as they come. So as you can imagine, when we get together, there are lots of cooks in the kitchen. As a result, it might seem that a 10-year reunion trip to NYC to celebrate Mom’s 70th birthday, all sharing the same hotel room with a single bathroom, would be a recipe for disaster.
But it turned out to be a wonderful way to practice “grown up” relationships.
It turns out that we go to sleep in differing ways, at differing times. Even with the exact same scheduled departure time, we all set our alarms for very different hours. We most definitely wake up at different speeds, in different states of awareness, with vastly diverse levels of interest in conversation. (Who turned that light on above my head?!?) We may look alike when we hit the door, but our “beauty & hygiene” practices vary greatly. (I guess I’m among the dirtiest in the bunch!)
Additionally, we each came to New York with distinctive ideas of what makes a trip to the city special.
It was beautiful to witness the way each of us showed up, taking up our own space in the world, while choosing the highest priority for the trip, which was of course, to celebrate Mom, together. We held on to ourselves, our own desires and practices, without feeling the need to defend. We each chose when it was important to speak up, and when it better served the whole of the group to be silent, but not by making ourselves small. We still honored our individual truths, while understanding that given the choices of the trip, we were continually choosing the bigger priority. No one was a doormat to be walked on. Everyone was open to whatever unfolded, because we were there to connect.
We were there to walk side by side.
If we would have shown up with our childlike selves, we might have left with disappointments, hurt feelings, and frustrations. But this wasn’t a trip for the little girls of our childhood. It was a trip for the grown women we’ve become. Women who have learned, and are still learning, what it looks like to show up as ourselves, while staying open to connection, in a beautifully diverse world.
When the highest priority is connection, there is no need to defend.
This picture on the Brooklyn Bridge will forever remind me of what it looks like when sisters choose to walk side by side. No one in front. No one trailing behind. All showing up. All moving forward.
All choosing to stay together.
As you enter this season of holiday parties and overnight guests, determine in advance if connection is your highest priority. If it is, remember this picture. Remember that you can show up as your whole self and still choose to how and when to engage. Choosing connection over defensiveness doesn’t make you a doormat.
It makes you a grown up.
This holiday season, choose to walk side by side with the ones you love.
The connection is worth it.
to more love,