Throw Back Thursday
March 27, 2014

Back in the day, the Cunningham sisters had our, ahem, differences of opinion. My little tiffs with my sibs would begin with a snarky comment or a "borrowed" dress, and escalate into screaming matches, complete with doors slammed so hard they almost came off their hinges, and rivers of tears. We always made up quickly, though, and I well remember how good and right the hugs felt at the end of battle. In later years, when we lived apart, misunderstandings over the phone were common, as were squabbles upon reuniting after a long absence (here, I think it was the ridiculous expectation that every second would be perfection, that caused the trouble). Again, though, sorrow and forgiveness were never more than a few minutes away.

As for the little Seyfrieds, Sheridan and Evan had a brotherly love that even strangers commented upon. They rarely argued, about anything. It was a simple dynamic: Sheridan called all the shots, and Evan adoringly followed along. When little Ev would be asked at dinner about his preschool day, big bro would unfailingly chime in with, "I used to have Evan's teacher, so here's what he did in school! Circle time and show and tell and playground time and he practiced for the show!!" We'd turn to tiny Evan, who would merely smile and nod.

Evan and Rose got off on the wrong foot. Rose's main fault? She was born. Who needed a third party to break up The Perfect Partnership? And Rose didn't help matters much, with her infant fussing and her toddler tantrum-ing and her school years' angst. Down the pecking order, Rose and PJ got on all right most of the time, though they too had their tough moments.  PJ and Julie went from hearts and flowers when she was a baby, to bickering their way through the teenage years and beyond.

But here's the blessing: they have all gotten to a place where their love and loyalty always trump their disagreements. Years ago, I imagined grown Evan and Rose would drift apart permanently. Yet here they are, talking online often, sharing favorite bands, traveling great distances to visit. Julie and Rose have celebrated joys, nursed each other through heartbreaks, and look forward to being together in NYC next year. A highlight of Julie's recent European adventure was a week spent with PJ in Marburg, Germany, where he was an exchange student. And Sheridan gets along well with everybody, as he always has.

Do I take much credit for how close they are now? Nope. But I often told them, as my mom often reminded me: "These will be the longest relationships of your lives, longer than marriage, longer than your time with us. So treasure each other. Make every effort to like each other, and value each other. You'll never be sorry."

On this Throw Back Thursday, I salute my favorite brothers and sisters, Cunninghams and Seyfrieds. May they always love each other even half as much as I love them.


    I am an author (of three books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

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