I made it home safe and sound yesterday evening. I connected through Calgary and the flight between Calgary and Kitchener was a bit trying because a screaming 16-month-old baby was seated directly behind me. It's twin was seated directly behind it and the twin also screamed. At least I wasn't seated in the same row as either baby - the people who were looked less happy and more frustrated than I did.
For this trip I stayed with my youngest sister and her family and I really enjoyed staying there. I felt completely at home and totally comfortable there and I never felt that I was intruding on them at all. I'm so grateful that they opened their doors to me.
While I was in Edmonton my sisters and I met with a lawyer about our mom's estate. There's just a couple of things to settler and then it'll all be wrapped up. The estate has been a source of conflict between my sisters and I and I'll be happy to see it all wrapped up and done.
My sisters and I also met with a counselor as part of developing our relationship. This counselor was really, really good and I wish she practiced here so that I could see her here. I've been wondering if I was pushing too hard to be close to sisters and also whether I'd been unrealistic in my expectations about what kind of relationship we could have. Yes and yes.
I was also shocked to discover that my relationship with my middle sister is not at all what I thought it was. I knew that our relationship was rocky but I had no idea what she was thinking or how she saw me. I know better now. Even though I prefer to hear the truth it was definitely painful to hear what she really thought and I felt blindsided by it.
Knowing the truth is a relief because it means that I can stop trying so hard to have this relationship. Accepting the way things are is easier and less work than trying to make things into whatever I want them to be. I've been putting her needs and wants ahead of my own and trying to guess at her motivations and reactions so that I won't upset her and so that she'll like me. I don't have to do that anymore: I can put myself first and to do whatever I need to do for my own well-being. This is very freeing.
Of course I still have work to do. While it's freeing to think of putting myself first, clearly I need some help putting this into practice. I also need to let go of needing my sister to be close to me and this will be trickier because I'm not sure why I felt I needed to have a closer relationship with my sisters in the first place. Although I have a huge support network already, for some reason - possibly because if my mom's death - I really wanted my sisters closer to me.
I also still need to work at dealing with my own past. My sisters and I had a traumatic upbringing from which we need to heal. Our counselor pointed out that because the trauma and its triggers bring up the fight or flight response in us, it's really hard to deal with it all on our own. She recommended that I see someone who's experienced in helping people heal from childhood trauma.
Yes, there's lots of work ahead for me. I think I'll spend some time resting and enjoying the new growth in our garden before trying to find myself a counselor.