When I was much younger, my family would come to Marietta from Tennessee to see my dad’s sister and her eight children. It was such a great time for me. I loved their big family, and the craziness that was always going on. One of my cousins, who was three years older and whom I idolized, had this poster on her wall that I have never forgotten. It was a picture of open hands letting go of a butterfly with the sentiment: If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it was never meant to be. 

I have had many applications of this in my life, most obviously sending my sons out into the world. Fortunately, they have come back many times, at least so far. But I currently have a new one that is a true test of the statement “I just want you to be happy.” Is that still true if being happy means cutting me out of their lives? The answer is, of course it does.

How many times have people wondered if I still cared because they hadn’t heard from me? I am easily overwhelmed by life, and, though I never stopped caring for anyone that I remember, I have often been unavailable when people needed me. Do I not owe everyone else the same understanding that I have asked of them?

So to my sister, whom I have always loved but not always been there for, I understand. I love you, and I truly want you to be happy. Be well, and seek out those things that give you the fullest, richest life.

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