Monday was National Sibling Day. I’m grateful to my three siblings, each for his or her specific contribution to my life. Admittedly, I was at times the bossy older sister, and it has been noted that my two youngest siblings were camped outside my bedroom counting the minutes till I packed up my things and left for college. I’m certain I earned that kind of farewell party.
The realities and memories of childhood have a way of blending into something that changes over time. When I think of my siblings, that blend of memories informs the way I am in the world. My brother Mick, 22 months younger, lives in a small village in southern Utah, not far from Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. He’s had a lifelong interest in wildlife and the natural world. When I see quail on my morning walks I think of him. He reminds me to hold sacred our planet and its living creatures. Mick was a major participant in “the Stream,” a world we created with neighborhood kids, similar to the outdoor classrooms and sand circle activities at the Seed.
My sister Jane, six years younger, is one of the most wildly creative people I know. She is fearless in her approach to art and has made everything from plastic pins to recycled bags, wooden ornaments, and most recently hammered metal jewelry (https://www.etsy.com/shop/JustPlainJane?ref=l2-shopheader-name). Every time I use one of her bags, I receive a comment or inquiry from the cashier. Jane has been immensely encouraging of my own path as an artist. She frequently shares resources and sparks ideas. She’s not afraid to take risks with her artistic expression and I always look forward to seeing what she’s up to next. Some of our Seed artist/makers take a similar approach.
Pat, my youngest brother, who was born right before I turned nine, opted to stay in the small Nebraska town where we grew up. After college he joined my dad at the family bank and is now its CEO. Pat’s creativity is expressed through business, and even though I don’t understand most of what he does, I have great admiration for his innovative thinking and devotion to community service. Although our paths have taken different turns in many ways, we have managed to hold mutual respect and openness toward each other throughout our lives. His ideas expand my mind. He, above anyone else in my family, “gets” what the Seed is. I’ve appreciated his curiosity and support these past 40 years.
I’ve always felt that siblings are the humans who most understand and share our early roots. In a sense, they are assigned to us, forcing us to work with what and who we’ve been given. Despite how things work out, siblings are among our earliest teachers in belonging. Although it’s slightly different, the people who end up at the Seed together share a similar relationship. Whether as a student, parent, or staff member, we’ve all landed here one way or another and we figure out how to make it work. Recently one of the kindergarteners wrote this phrase on her drawing for our new mural design: “I feel like I belong. And I do belong here.” Like a family, selected or assigned, we keep showing up, day after day, to find our place in this extraordinary community called the Seed. It’s a practice in being and belonging, one we shall celebrate in a big way on April 22 as we also celebrate our belonging on Planet Earth.