Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Transformation of a Stranger

There's always an excitement associated with starting over in a new town—a cliched blank canvas with its multitude of exciting paints in the form of new friends, new sights, new restaurants, new museums, new dance partners, just waiting to be colored in.

But what about the old paintings? The ones that took you years to create, beautiful mixtures of purposeful and non-purposeful strokes that was "your life" one plane ticket ago. What about those? Do they get thrown out, moved to the side, forgotten?

I'm struggling with these old paintings. Sure I helped paint them, but they didn't stop when I left the project. I know that they are continuing to evolve, and I know that my other lives don't stand still just because I switched area codes. It's scary. I'm terrified beyond belief that I'll return someday and not recognize my own work.

Take for example my sister, a senior in high school. The same sister that I got called out of Mrs. Kennedy's first grade class to see for the first time in the hospital. The same sister that used to hum like a motor while she ate her vegetables. The same sister that dressed as an old lady for Halloween even though all her friends were dressing as princesses.

For the last year, I've felt completely disconnected. I don't know how high school is going or where she is looking at colleges. I haven't asked her what music she likes or what movies she's seen recently. I'm turning into my worst nightmare. I'm the absent brother.

I found myself going through Facebook photos to find out the broadest details of family life back home, and it really bummed me out. I talk with my mom on a pretty regular basis, but a phone is a tough medium to connect over (though it is better than nothing). Even then, my sister jumps on the phone for a second and before we can even warm up, we part ways. It's a strange dance that ends all too quickly.

I could go on and on, but complaining to a computer screen is a piece of my problem to begin with. If I'm going to be more present in my sister's life, I need to rehang that picture in a spot where I can see it and stop making excuses. I need to start calling her more often, even if it's just to say hi, or how proud I am of her for everything she's doing (and she's doing a lot). Hopefully she feels the same way, but even if she doesn't, I'm going to be obnoxious and persistent until she just accepts that I'm going to be around. Right now it's all talk, but I have to start somewhere. All I know is that life is short, and that I owe my sister a big hug.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how I got here (to this page, to these words), Kade, but I'm glad I did. This is beautiful. I relate. I empathize. Every time I see my nephew he's different, and it's obvious now because he's at the beginning of his life and growing into the fuller-taller version of his future self, but we all change drastically from year to year. I look back a year and am astounded at how much has changed since then... right? So yes, your sister (and all of our far-away relatives) are perpetually different people that need keeping-up-with. This was September, so I don't know if you're still on it... but if you are... we're on the same page!

    Cheers to being there even when we aren't.
    Much love.