When I was sixteen we moved to Nova Scotia so my mother could look after "little b". From the moment I saw her, when she was nine months old, I felt this deep love and kinship with her.
The first thing she ever said to me as she crawled across the old farmhouse floor was "sweetpea". At first I was not sure it was a word. Then she said it again. Little b is my niece. My oldest sisters girl and I have known her all her life.
For a week in summer she was visiting home with her husband and two children and I saw her most days. It was August, the last days of summer when the warmth is sweet and the wild apples are falling from the trees.
To see her as she is is perfect. She is such a good mother. Finding the humour in her children, seeing their beauty, being patient and kind and doing for them. I got to watch her be herself.
I spent time watching her children be themselves. Beautiful, sweet, then throwing an occasional fit. The youngest in his crying before nap time told us "I want my sook. I want to go back to bed." This reminded me so much of little b, the ever rational girl that she was.
Her older son who is five delicately ate slowly, nibbling from his treat bowl. I assume this came from his fathers side because little b would have devoured that bowl in seconds.
It is one of the beauties of aging to watch others become. To watch another become themselves is a privilege. This is a privilege we are given within a family. We wrap ourselves around each other and we love and we give and we watch. This is our job. It is not to judge and plan. It is to wish and hope.
And it is to accept. Because in a family when we accept each other we teach each other to accept ourselves. To me little b looks perfect because I have seen her grow inch by inch. But I know in truth she is not, just like I am not.
But what we do have between us is better than perfect it is love. And with real love comes full acceptance. We see the person for their goodness and while knowing their flaws (little b is not pleasant after a nap) we bury them deep, except of course when we mock them in their presence.
To accept each others flaws and all, this is the job of love. With little b this is easy, I hardly see them. I would venture to bet she sees me in much the same way.
Within a family we are called to love both the easy things and the more difficult things. We know it isn't always easy but we take it on and we persist because that is what we are meant to do. And we do it because we are family.
We love. We are loved. We accept. We are accepted.
Thank you for reading, for letting me share my thoughts with you. I am glad you are there,
- Deanne Fitzpatrick