Family Ties

Beaded Embroidery by Cathy Ulrich as taught to her by her sister Becky

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about holding one’s vibration when confronted with the challenges of old family dynamics. When we’re in a process of questioning beliefs and life patterns, exposure to some family members can make us feel as if we’re back to square one. But today, I want to talk about a different kind of family dynamic, one that I got to experience in all of it’s richness. One that I’ll treasure for a long time…

My sister, Becky, came to visit last week. Becky lives in Georgia, where we grew up. I now live in Colorado. Yes, of course we talk on the phone, text frequently and stay present in each other’s lives, but when we get to see each other, it’s a very special time.

While Becky and I had been close as kids, much of our adult relationship was through our parents, especially our mother. Mom would keep us both appraised of our respective lives and when I visited Atlanta, Becky and I would visit, but our interactions, for the most part, revolved around Mom, and to a lesser degree, Dad. It was as if, we all agreed to re-form that family dynamic, especially the part about acquiescing to our father’s needs and demands. We would go on short road trips, because that’s what Dad liked to do. We’d even sit in our respective places (from our childhood) in the car – Dad driving, Mom in the front passenger seat, me behind Mom in the back, Becky behind Dad. Even though we were adults with families of our own, we replayed this scenario every time I visited!

When six years ago and in a span of five months, both our parents died, Becky and I were thrust into a new world – one in which we only had each other as original family members. We were left with our grief and our parent’s home in a failing economy and a housing market in Georgia where the house lost half of its value in less than a year. When we could not sell the house, which we tried to do twice, we decided to rent it and use the rental money to maintain it.

We eventually discovered that we had built up a nice little nest egg from the rental proceeds and Becky had a brilliant idea. “Let’s start a travel club! We can let Mom and Dad pay for our trips.” Rather than dividing the money and spending it separately, we both agreed to keep it in a special fund – one that we would use to travel together. Becky loves the West, so our trips have been focused on places within driving distance of my home.

So last week we went to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We hiked, we kayaked, we shopped – we even let Mom and Dad buy us matching handbags. And we laughed, talked, beaded (Becky is a beading artist and owns a bead store), shared our challenges and dreams and discussed where we wanted to go for our next trip.

I love my time with my sister. The joy that we share, I think, is a combination of sharing a common heritage and a commitment to a friendship that has simply become rich in the past few years. Vibrationally? I suspect we do have a similar inherent vibration. While we don’t look a lot alike, our voices do sound alike. When I met Becky’s 6-month-old grand daughter, the beautiful little girl leapt towards me from her grandmother’s arms. It was as if she was saying – “Oh look, another Grammy!”

The thing is, we’ve both committed to our own personal growth and that growth has allowed a space for each other. Do we see eye-to-eye on everything? No, not really. Becky is committed to something I would probably call a more traditional Christian perspective, but she’s truly spiritual in her appreciation of the nonphysical. I’m committed to a spiritual perspective without the religious overtones. But our love for each other has created a space where we can both talk about our “beliefs” without feeling judged or threatened. And we don’t try to convince each other that either is right. It’s a nice, clear, lovely vibration and I feel so blessed to share it with her.

When we got back from Steamboat, Peter suggested that the three of us go to the Grand Canyon in the next year or so…And Becky said that she would love to ask him to join our Travel Club from time to time! So who knows where we’ll go next? But I can tell you right now, it will be fun!



©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

4 comments on “Family Ties

  1. Tears in my eyes…beautiful post! Hugs.


  2. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Thank you, Julie! Isn’t life grand?


  3. Becky Rathel says:

    I am so proud of where we have arrived and can’t wait to experience where we will go.
    I love you!


    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      I love you, too, Sweetie! Thanks for checking out the blog…And I too am proud of where we are and excited to see where we go! It’s a huge gift and blessing! Love you, Dear Sister!



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