I don’t know how it happened exactly, it just did….maybe we couldn’t  really see each other’s heart or pain, maybe it was just too hard, maybe we needed time, maybe we were angry, maybe too much built up without the words,  maybe we loved each other too much, maybe we were just tired.

Some where along the way, my family of origin sort of fell apart. The bones were there, some little pockets of connection held tight quietly, others grew…my parents still loved us deeply. It was painful and sad…because under it all, my family loved each other fiercely.

I pulled away, I said hurtful things, I showed up when I shouldn’t have and didn’t come when it mattered…I couldn’t find my voice or way. So  I left, we all sort of did in our own way…and at moments that felt okay and required but after awhile you forget that you can go back or you don’t know how…and there are parts of you that are still wounded and you don’t know how that will work.  …and you wonder if anyone else has changed like you have. Maybe we are more fragile than we know.

But it is this fragility and deep tenderness that holds the love, the misunderstood messy love that holds families together, even when it looks like they are in pieces.  After enough time, healing, and a quiet hope brewing, a sort of courage starts to emerge. My mom must have held it or seen it in all her wisdom, or perhaps she just refused to ever let it go…but she asked me and my 3 sisters to meet her in New York City to surprise my dad for his 70th birthday.

My mom never asks us to do anything…ever. It was so easy to say yes to her…but I was nervous. I didn’t know after 2 years of almost no contact with my sisters what it would be like. Actually, I was scared….and there was never any outright fighting, it  was always all the things unsaid, all the things we felt and held, and the tension of trying to love well. …and knowing we had failed each other.  …but the love was bigger, we could handle anything for 72 hours for my parents (with a little liquor help), we would be on our best behavior. I thought I was on a mission of survival.

I was completely unprepared for what happened next.

My sisters, one by one, came bounding into the hotel room with an open heart…I wasn’t prepared for their kindness. It was awkward and sweet…and so very familiar. There was more space to be who we were, there was careful and calculated respect, there were a few tense moments, there was still dysfunction and the family dance, there was great healing, there was humor, there was soul relief… there was so much joy.

My parents were delirious…we all found each other again.

Despite ourselves and after probably a million prayers by my mom.

We went to the opera at the Met. We listened to the life stories of taxi drivers because this is the family superpower- strangers and everything unexpected.

We walked Bellevue and saw the spot where my dad proposed. We heard the pain and joy of all that place held. It was the beginning place of our family.

We ate crazy amazing food. We saw a Broadway show. We went on a hunt for the best street gyro. We shopped. We started a Twitter account. We partied (well, some of us did) and helped with hangovers.

I have never seen my parents so happy…and then we said goodbye and left. Not everything was back to normal, because it can never be that way again but there was a building of something new. Each of us in a new place. …and it all feels like a sorted miracle.

You just never know…

how you can grow.

where your pain can take you.

how the other person might miss you.

how deep your love went.

how much you still need each other.

how important it is to hold on to hope, no matter how small it is.

what can happen next.

I don’t pretend to know how to fix anything or how to heal…I just know you can find each other again…even when it feels like that may never happen. It can. It does. It will.