Dear Diary… ha! That’s what this feels like today. We have had quite a bit going on in our brains these days and felt like it was time to share what’s been going on over here, beginning with an entry I wrote back in January and never got around to sharing…now it feels somewhat appropriate as to why….
A lot has happened over the last several months. Guesthouse finishes, holiday campaigns, travel plans, finding balance with work and personal life, and probably the biggest of all: my sister moved in with us. We didn’t realize it at the time but it totally rocked our world in more ways than one…we became a family of three living under 1,200 square feet together, learning more about eachother than we ever thought. It’s been like dating and having a child mixed all together in some strangely wrapped package.
So let me rewind a bit. My sister Danielle and I are eight years apart and haven’t lived together in over ten years. Most of her growth, becoming an adult, and her being shaped into who she is, I wasn’t around for. My parents and two younger sisters moved to Florida when I was in college. I think I was 19 or 20 at the time, and I was finishing my BA in Psychology at school in Long Island, NY. I was still figuring my life out then…who I was, who was I going to be, what was I going to do with my life? The typical questions every young 20-something year old asks themselves at this point in their lives were filling my head as well. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I knew moving to Florida was not on my list of “yeses”, so I said “no” and stayed back in NY. My family and I have always had a rocky relationship…it has slowly moved in a more positive direction over the last year though. I come from a very traditional home, and without getting to into it all, me staying behind put a lot of stress and strain our relationship. There were a lot of ups and downs, months and even years of not talking, and through that tangled web, my relationship with my sisters changed. My youngest sister Danielle and I were always the closest. Back when we lived together, we would spend many summer afternoons together watching movies and TV shows. Rob and I even took her on her first train ride back in the day and spent the afternoon at the Central Park zoo. She was always around and by my side growing up, but when my family moved and my relationship with my parents took a hit, so did my relationship with her. I missed out on her becoming an adult and coming into her own. I wasn’t seeing my parents, so unfortunately I wasn’t seeing her as well. She’s still the goofy curly haired little girl who we would dance around the living room with, but I missed all those in between moments that really shaped who she is today…what makes her happy, what makes her sad, confused, angry, and even laugh now.
I didn’t realize this all until about a month or so after she moved here and it really shook me up.
Over the last two years, leading up to her move, we began talking more and more…facetiming several times a week and calling and texting everyday. To me, we were sharing a big part of ourselves with each other again, but I naively failed to realize I didn’t know what was really going on the last ten years of her life. How will everything she experienced in the past affect her move to Arizona? How will her personal friendships and relationships affect how she makes new friends and interacts with us? How will all of us living together affect all of our lives? I think we were all super excited to just be together and hang out, we didn’t think much further. So how is it living together? The original plan was Danielle would live with us two weeks while the guest house out back was finished, and then she would move in there for several months as she became acclimated to AZ. The guesthouse was finished in late December, due to later than expected product delivery dates, some unforeseen plumbing issues, you get it, so we were all living together for three months and things got interesting and we learned way more about ourselves than we ever thought.
To begin with, Rob and I both have a whole new appreciation for our parents and parents in general. Seeing how certain situations affected my sister, for the good and bad, really had an affect on me…I found myself crying when she cried, extremely frustrated when she couldn’t communicate what was bothering her, and feeling like a failure when she was angry or uncomfortable with something that happened that day that I couldn’t fix. I actually found myself sharing with my mom how incredibly difficult it must have been to have felt responsible for three young girls’ feelings and moods…for their happiness and sadness, and ultimately feeling like you have no control in how those feelings actually come about. In some instances we felt like we adopted a 22 year old and wow – we were not ready for that. With that sentence, I feel the need to put out a little disclaimer that my sister wasn’t depending on us, or that we needed to be responsible for her happiness or sadness, more so it was a personal choice and something within us that we didn’t know existed. It becomes extremely difficult not to feel responsible when living so closely with someone you care about.
In addition to not living with my sister for ten years, the obvious was brought to our attention…it has been just Rob and I for the last four (ish) years. In that time we have developed this unspoken routine. It makes sense for us, but really gave us insight into what it would be like to have a third person around. How caring and thinking of someone else’s schedule or needs impacts our day to day. It’s taught us to be a little less regimented in our days, not to get so bent out of shape when certain things aren’t “just right” and how to create a more relaxed lifestyle. We’re both creatures of habit and we realized it’s okay to let things go a bit. Again, it’s something we’re working on.
Since Danielle moving into the guesthouse, we all have had a new sense of balance. Meeting each other for puppy walks, grabbing dinner together or having movie nights in. It’s been a special experience. We got our home space back so to speak and Danielle got her personal space back, which really gave her the opportunity to reflect and see what she wanted. Without getting into it too much, because it surely isn’t our place, she has decided that this just isn’t the right time for her to be in Phoenix, and she will be heading back to Florida. It was a tough decision…we will miss her dearly and hope she returns to the desert one day soon for more than just a visit, but we have received a bunch of emails and DM’s hoping for some updates on her situation/status (seriously so sweet of you guys!) so we felt it was finally time for the update. We had planned a little surprise trip to see my Dad for his birthday in March (he doesn’t read here, don’t worry 😉 ), so now instead of picking up just Danielle from the airport as her return to FL (he knows about that), he’ll be greeted with Rob and me as well for a little birthday celebration. It will be a fun few days and a nice way to spend some time with Danielle and the whole family together. 🙂
There’s so much more to share about things that have been going on lately, but this post has already gotten too long, so we’ll share some more updates later in the week. If you’ve made it to the end, bravo..wish we could send you all a virtual cupcake. 😉
Happy Wednesday guys! As always, thanks so much for following along with us and checking in! xo
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