Blood is Thicker than Water

**Warning: This post may cause bile to rise in throats of less-sentimental readers. Immense tenderness ahead. Do not read if prone to illness or reactions against tenderness. This post may not be suited for adults who are not directly related to me. Read at your own risk**

Dear Immediate Blood Relatives [Mom, Dad, and Big Sis],

Over the past two years it seems I’ve been away from home more often than not. I wonder, if I’d realised my time with you was short-lived, I would’ve stopped leaving. Even though I’ve been to interesting places and accomplished some of my lifetime goals, I sometimes feel a twinge of remorse thinking about how I spent my last days as a Strate. Maybe instead of being so determined to learn French, I should have focused on bonding a little more. Perhaps rather than traveling the world and spending all those weekends in Canada with a guy who’d soon have me for the rest of his life, I could have embraced every spare minute I had with you.

I always have a clearer perspective of my experiences after I’ve already lived through them {and when I am thousands of miles away}.

Dad,
Do you remember the time Mom and Adell went to a conference in Tucson and I was so disappointed I didn’t get to go? I’m pretty sure I was eight years old; you took me to the Compass Room restaurant at the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix. I’d always dreamed of going there. To this day, I don’t think I’ve eaten at a fancier restaurant.


I remember I got some kind of bisque–I’d never had bisque before, but the waitress told me it was soup (and I like soup), so I ordered it. I was turned off when I found out it was cold–it reminded me of V8, and I don’t like V8. But I ate it anyway–all of it, I think. I was so excited. That was the last father-daughter date we ever took, just you and me. Why don’t we do that more often?

Mom,
My first year at ASU was so miserable. Almost all of my near-and-dear friends had gone away, and I was really in a funk (as you would say). I was so oblivious to the world around me that the day before classes started, I had a nervous breakdown–I didn’t even know where my classrooms were, or where I could park. I hadn’t even bought paper. You insisted on driving me around campus after church that Sunday–Dad and Allison came, too. You taught me how to get to the Institute building. “If you can get yourself here, you’ll be okay,” was your calm, seasoned assurance. There, I’d be able to park for free, store my lunch, and hide out in between classes. I drove the same way to campus every day–the way you taught–just me and Beulah (and sometimes Adell).


During the second semester, when Valentine’s Day rolled around, I became so fed up with ASU and its lousy boys, that I declined all dates for the entire month. I left you a Valentine (on your pillow, maybe?) and I think it made your day–we were each others’ valentines. Later on that year we had quite a few disagreements about my life, but you never stopped supporting me. The next Valentine’s Day, I found a letter from you in my Canadian mailbox–you’d sent me a valentine. I felt so bad I’d forgotten to do the same for you. And the next year I was in Belgium, and never did get around to sending you one. Now I’m back in Canada and I don’t have any stamps. I’m sorry.


Adell,
Remember how viciously we used to fight? Not argue or quarrel–we’d punch, bite, and pull hair. You were so much stronger than me, but if you backed me into a corner, I could kick really hard–my legs were longer than your arms. In a strange way, those fights brought us closer as sisters. They always ended in us laughing together, or trying to disguise the holes in the wall–together. That time you sat on our wobbly piano bench and it broke to pieces, I teased you endlessly. I think it made you feel bad–I’m so sorry. It was going to happen, no matter who sat on it. But I know if I’d been the one to break it, you would not have laughed at me. You have always been a better sister to me than I was to you.


Like how you were my strongest support system throughout my entire engagement and wedding…but I just moped all the way through yours. I was so sad to see you go–but that’s no excuse.


I’ve just bawled through this entire post. If I wanted to make it extra sad and sappy, I would talk about Sampson. [Our poor dead dog–he was a Strate, too, even though he wasn’t very obedient.] I won’t do that, though.

To my family, still living in the place I can’t stop calling “home…”

I love you all. Very much.

Just thought you should know.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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7 Responses to Blood is Thicker than Water

  1. Anonymous says:

    Millie,

    You’re right. I probably shouldn’t have read this, as it definitely brought tears to my eyes and made me miss you tremendously. What a sweet, thoughtful post. Thank you.

    Please don’t regret your traveling the past few years; you got to experience some incredible things, and I’m so happy for you. I hope the next few years you and Kyle will be able to check off more of your life’s to do list, and I hope that I get to be there for some of those, too. (Prince Edward Island…???)

    I can’t wait to see you again! (SIXTEEN MORE DAYS IS ALL…) Thank goodness for this blog; it makes me feel like you’re not so far away. I love ya!

    Nadell

  2. Anonymous says:

    CPSF-
    It was a great post.
    I love you too
    ~KCS

  3. Anonymous says:

    This post made tears fill my eyes and drip down my chest. You HAD to go away—every time you went I knew it was your destiny and I knew that someday you would leave for good and probably never come back. You wanted to do that but I didn’t think you knew how hard it is. Maybe I should have raised you differently and not encouraged you to take wishes and pursue dreams. I’m pretty sure you would still be here if I’d done things differently. I blame myself for trying so hard to understand you and help you be what God wanted you to be because I miss you so much.

    I do wish our time together had been less strained. I felt so strongly about my feelings, which I am still trying desperately to interpret and make meaning of. That caused a rift between us–I am sorry for the first, but I am not sorry for not giving into you when I felt my feelings so strongly. I pray that someday you will seek to understand how much I have tried to understand you and you will reciprocate and try to understand what makes me function—the real inner me, that very few really know and understand. It is a very complicated, higher level thinking skill.

    Looking back is easier than looking at the present.

    I am glad that I was able to help you through your nervous breakdown with ASU. You helped me with mine when I had my knee surgery. You provide me the most comfort and nurturing when I am sick.

    The Institute was a tangible symbol of the comfort the gospel can bring. Your Heavenly Father is always there. no matter where you are and HE will help you through the rough times. If you remember His and call for His help you’ll always be O.K.
    By the way—I still have that Valentine, and one that you gave me when you were 8 years old that said, “Mom, I love you. Camille” They bring me comfort and make me believe that even though you are so far away you do care and will remember some of what I tried to teach you.

    I love you. Happy Valentine’s Day.
    MA

    P.S. I talked to Kyle about what to do to make 2-14 special. I trust he’ll pull through.

  4. Jami says:

    I loved this post!

  5. lindser-lou says:

    you’re probably the sweetest girl i know camille. Your family is so lucky to have you, as are the rest of us who call you our friend.

  6. Anonymous says:

    very touching. i agree with linder-lou, you’re family is very lucky to have such a sweet girl

  7. SuperCoolMom says:

    Aww, I’m all weepy about Mom showing you the Institute as your safe haven. It really is. I always think about that as I drop my son off at WW seminary building and pick him up there. It’s a little island of sanity away from the gangstas with their saggin’ drawers and the goths and all the other -ites. So nice to have a Home away from Home.

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