We walk on our heels. We talk loud and laugh boisterously. We cackle, really. Or, as my brother in law likes to say when my sisters and I get together, we often create an unholy trinity of ear-splitting sonic weaponry that sometimes makes him convulse and forget who he is for a minute (his exact words). We’re opinionated. We don’t always have the facts to back up our statements but we have blood that boils. We’re short tempered and stubborn and impatient. We hate that we are stubborn and impatient, so we work on it, every day. And we are reminded of it when we are together, each mirroring the other. But what makes us all those things also makes us strong and energetic and witty and anything but boring. Or so we like to think because we are each other’s biggest fans. We are sisters. We are family. We are blood.
Sometimes, when I fear the next step, when all I want to do is escape the hard stuff and avoid the challenges, I am reminded of my lineage. And how, beneath this exterior that is capable of so much kindness and generosity, there is a “you don’t want to mess with me” warrior inside. It’s wild and feral and woven into an animalistic instinct for survival. I am reminded that the blood that flows through my veins once pumped through the veins of my great great grandmother, who left Ireland and worked hard to bring each of her 8 children, one at a time, and her husband across the Atlantic ocean to the United States, where they started a new life for themselves. She lives inside me.
And I am the product of a mother who’s survived cancer. Three times. And walks around like the happiest woman on earth. She is the embodiment of grace.
And I am the sister of a woman who’s just found out that her son is autistic and sends emails such as this:
Dear Family and Friends.
For the last few weeks, Samuel has been going through multiple tests at the hospital to try to determine why he does not talk and why he throws so many fits. They have come to the conclusion that Samuel has Autism. They have not yet determined his level however believe he should be considered a medium to high-functioning Autistic child. To us, he is Samuel. The same Samuel he was before they put a word to his “disability”. Now we just understand why he reacts differently to certain situations and why parenting Samuel has been somewhat (okay VERY) difficult. We will all be OKAY!
These are the women who shape me. My tribe. My daily inspirations. And because of that, I know that I will always be okay because beneath the insecurities and the fears is a core. A hard core. Created by centuries of strong women, forging the way. And the only way I feel I can honour them is by having the courage to follow my own dreams, to lift anchor, to cast sails and leave the safety of the harbour. I might need a few more kicks in the butt than some, but I trust that I’ll get there, eventually.
For a New Beginning
by John O’Donohue
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
Who would you like to honour today?
Jeanine Caron is a regular contributor to Gypsy Girl’s Guide.