No family is perfect. I grew up hearing how some families would break apart, brothers not speaking to brothers, families no longer celebrating holidays together, and cousins not growing up together. The older I get, the more I realize how we are each made of clay, and how easily we can be broken.
We are none of us as tough as we think or may seem. It's easy to hurt someone else's feelings, or to feel offended. It just takes one mean sentence that can cut to the heart because it's family, and we know them well enough to know how.
I often think of my children and how they will be as they grow older. I try to teach them each good reasoning and sound judgement, love, fairness, and forgiveness. But each must chose their path, how they will conceive of being sister or brother to the other as adults, each with their own passion in life and perhaps their own family to raise.
I've not just heard but witnessed love growing cold as I age. We are all challenged to keep each candle lit, and only we know how to do it. Because love, family, and friendships are life's greatest gifts. And we have to carry each vessel with care.