Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hidden Siblings

I went to a wedding a few weeks ago. It was a delight. A beautiful and in-love couple. A Perfect Summer's Day. A big dance in a barn. But I knew very few people there. And the more folks I talked to, the more I realized how little I knew about the bride and groom’s history. I kept meeting siblings of both. And for some reason, since the happy couple never mentioned their family much before, I actually didn't think they had any (parents aside). But in fact, between their siblings alone (including step-siblings) ranged a span of over 40 years. I tried to imagine how that must have influenced them. And that made me think of how little I know of even some of my closest friends’ families. Unless we met in high school, I usually don't know their brothers or mothers or fathers or sisters. And often I won’t know if they even have siblings. The more I thought about it, it was downright strange that I had no knowledge of their strongest and oldest influences in their lives - the people they love and hate the most are practically invisible to me. And how I could really know someone at all without knowing the rest of their family? Isn't it a revelation to meet a lover's family for the first time? You don't just see how they're similar, but you see how they’re different. What courage it took to break away from the past. And how certain reminders of where they come from either touch or infuriate them.
What's the most surprising thing you've seen when you met someone's family? And did it change how you thought of them?

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