As I woke this morning and felt a bit of tenderness on my right side, I touched the lines of my friendship symbol and smiled…I began to reflect on what “Sister’s Weekend” really means to me and what I suspect it means to all of the sisters that have either come once, several times, or have attended every year since we began doing this. Initially the ritual started with me and my sister, and my two aunts (who are really more like sisters). It grew to include our in-laws, and then took a bit of a different turn when we all began to live in different states. My sister began hosting it each year during the MLK weekend once she moved to Florida. It then grew to not only include the core group, but each of us has invited our “special sista friends” to join this amazing weekend at various times over the years. It has now become a journey of life’s ups and downs that we share each year as we catch up on everyone’s lives.
For me, each year I am in awe of the beauty that is the journey of life. Each one of the members of our group is at a different place each year. It is so exciting for me to see where life has taken each of us and how we have evolved into the person’s we see on this special weekend. Some years are better than others depending where each of us are in our own lives. As you can imagine, as wonderful as it is to see everyone, it can get quite intense at times. All of us have strong personalities and our own individual ways of doing and interpreting things. The word that sticks out to me most for this weekend is “tolerance” and the security of knowing that no matter what…we are here for each other.
During this past weekend, three of my “sista friends” attended. These friends of mine are from three different phases of my life. One friend I knew since middle school, the other college, and the last since before my first child was born (about 13 years). Each of these friendships are equally sacred to me and each of them know and have shared parts of me that the other hasn’t. That is what makes each of these women so unique. I’ve encountered times when our friendships were tested, and space to grow individually was necessary, but what I know without a doubt is that wherever life takes us, these bonds are forever.
My sister’s best friend from high school is also one of the special ladies that attended this year. She has been like a big sister to me since I was 10 or 11 years old. She was the first person that arched my eyebrows. She was also someone that looked out for me. She stuck up for me when I didn’t have a voice. Seeing her this year gave me such joy. She is discovering herself again after years of losing who she was. She is not only finding the girl she used to be, but she is embracing the amazing woman that she has become. She is exploring new things, going on new adventures, and opening herself up to new possibilities. Simply, I am so proud of her and I am one of her biggest fans sitting on the sidelines cheering her on as she discovers what “it” is…
The final two members of our group this year were my aunt and my sister. The only two members that I can’t remember what life was like without, because they have always been there. At some point during the last ten-twenty years, my aunt and I became friends. As you can imagine, being the baby of my family (the older generation that is) it took a long time to be viewed or respected as an equal. Somewhere along the way, that changed and the friendship that has blossomed is one that I treasure deeply. My aunt has been on a personal journey of finding her own peace, and though she readily admits that she is a work in progress, I am so proud of where she has come and where she is headed. She has become still, and is allowing God to work with and through her. I admire her strength to just “be” and not let anything or anyone alter her current state of “being”…all I can say is “you go girl!”
My relationship with my sister, the hostess with the mostess, is the hardest to describe, because there are no words that can describe the depth of our friendship and commitment to each other. If you were to ask me as a teen or even adolescent if I would ever consider my sister as my very best friend, I would have unequivocally said no. We had a turbulent childhood and a distant adolescence, but what was always constant was that we had each other’s back. Over the years we’ve had to cling to each other in times of need, and knew that no one would be better equipped to handle the fragile situation other than each other. It is through these ups and downs of our lives that this magical friendship evolved, and now I could not imagine that we were ever anything but the best of friends. Her journey has led her to this fascinating place of acceptance. Acceptance not only of and for herself, but for all that are in her circle. I watched her this weekend handle each guest and relationship with such care, wisdom, and grace…even though there were times when we all got on her nerves and each others nerves, she set the tone…and that tone was “tolerance”. Tolerance lets you know that no matter what your issue, quirk, or funk might be, we all have each other’s back…We are our sister’s keeper.
So sister’s weekend for me is a time to exhale away from the constraints of our lives. It’s a time to get away from the stress of everyday life, and the burden of the difficult life issues that we might be facing. It is also a time to throw caution to the wind, and be a little spontaneous and wild…which we ALL did this weekend. Through the years we have been through serious illness, divorce, unemployment, cheating spouses, sorry spouses, awesome spouses, parenting issues, promotions, career changes, life changes, and so much more. Through all of that this weekend remains a highlight that we look forward to each year. Sharing the journey with these women has been a beautiful addition to my own individual story…The women of this Sister’s Weekend, the women of the past Sister’s Weekend, and the women of the future Sister’s Weekend are all part of this blossoming journey of healing, worth, love, and acceptance.