After my dad passed away without warning, I repeatedly thought about our unfinished business with each other. Those thoughts evolved into wondering what memories about myself and my life went with him the day he died. What had he seen or known about me that he hadn’t gotten around to telling me or that I hadn’t thought to ask? Afterall, how do you know what to ask when you don’t know what you don’t know about yourself? I suppose I expected that over the course of my life I would discover and learn everything I needed to know in due time, but sometimes life makes you grow even under a cloudy sky. Once my grief eventually subsided my thoughts took a different course. Who is expecting to learn something from me? What is it and would they be listening when I was ready to teach them?
I have one sibling, my sister, who is eight years my junior. Our age difference gives our relationship a special complexity in which I am a friend, her family, a mentor. Naturally, I am in the position to be an example and a role model and I take that position with great pride. In this day and age where we spend so much time being “social” it can be difficult to really connect when we already think we’re totally connected. Recently, my sister went with me on a trip to Palm Springs where we visited Moorten’s Botanical Garden and Cactarium. We spent the morning walking around the grounds in the sweltering August heat, she was a great sport. As we were walking, to my immense delight, she pointed out and named plants or directed my attention to something I missed that she knew I would want to see. It was amazing to see that in her own way she was interested in something I love so much. I managed to take this child, raised in the digital age, and have her love something in a way that only one with an old soul could. My work here is done!
That day at Moorten’s, as I reflect back on it now, is a reminder that knowledge is an evolution in which your original sources fade into you becoming the source and those you teach become your teachers too. The unfinished business I once thought I had with my dad has become my current business with my sister. I’ve found that it’s not about talking about yourself or even sharing family memories it’s about getting out and doing. It takes effort to pass on your passion but when you do it’s wonderful to see what someone else can make of something you love. I can’t exactly put my finger on a single passion that my dad directly passed to me but I know I feel his spirit when I work with my hands. That’s why I love to share the things I create with everyone who reads this blog. A full circle connection that brings me joy. But you just can’t underestimate unplugging from the computer or the phone and teaching those around you, in person. It was the original way to be social, before the media. And that day that I got out with my sister confirmed the direction of my path that she knows the garden and the girl behind it too.