“Rob, how do you feel about this love story of your sister’s? How do you feel about all of this?”

“Well, I got two phone calls. On the first one, she said, ‘Let me tell you about this guy I met, because I really like him.’ And on the second call, she said, ‘So, I got engaged this morning!’ It all happened pretty fast, but that’s how things are for my sister. She moves fast.

“It’s always been true of her—throughout her entire life. When she was a year old, my parents waited forever for her to start walking, but when she did, she took 37 steps. She waited until she was sure, and then she took off. The same process is true of all her major decisions, how she learned to ride a bike, how she chose a college, how she buys cars and houses. She doesn’t fail at things because she doesn’t move until she’s equally sure this is what she wants and that this will go as she has planned.

“So, I’m not worried about it at all. And believe me, I love Peter. I can see why she does.

“With all change comes loss. Loss of time. Loss of control. Loss of power. Loss of options. Loss of consistency. Loss of relationship. Change is never the problem. It’s the loss that comes with change that most of us don’t like.

“I’ve spent the last five years getting used to my sister’s new normal. She changed so much after Robb died, and we all had to learn her quiet, reserved introverted side. I learned how to be with her, how to talk to her, the patterns of what we talk about and what we don’t talk about, what makes her laugh and what will never be funny. Now she’s all vibrant and electric, back to life again. It’s all new and good, but it’s all different. I have to learn this girl too.IMG_2159

“It sort of feels like somebody turned the family system upside down—but not in a bad way. It felt like I walked back into a room I had memorized, but now the furniture is all moved around and I don’t know where I’m supposed to sit. I felt like, ‘Just give me a minute, I know the couch is here somewhere and I’ll find it. Nothing is where I left it. It’s all new and different. Somebody shook the house like a salt shaker, and everything landed in different places. I didn’t know it would look nice this way, but it really does. I just can’t find my shoes.’

“I wasn’t expecting Peter for many more years. Tricia had decided she was going to do the next ten years on her own—not that she wanted to be single, but she had decided that the dating scene for a single parent just brought too much instability, and she had decided she’d get these boys raised and then look after her own future. She is an incredible mother, and she has set their emotional health and stability as her very top priority, so she had settled into doing this on her own. But then Peter came along, and the plan changed. He’s wonderful and he’s everything she didn’t know she wanted, and I love him for her. I love him for all of us. I just wasn’t expecting him for a few more years.

“So, how do I feel? I’m so happy for her, for Peter, for the boys, and for all of us. Most of all, I love my sister’s renewed joy for life. And I’m waiting to see where we will all sit in the new living room.”

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