No, Dad. We don’t crowd-surf anymore.

My sister celebrated her birthday on Saturday. We’ve traded concert tickets for our birthdays since Star Jeans and feathered hair, and this year was no exception. I was talking to my dad before we left on Friday. He was surprised we hadn’t grown out of wanting to sing and dance and listen to live music. “Are you going to crowd-surf?”, he asked. I laughed. We have definitely grown out of that.

We traveled from Seattle to Vancouver, BC, making our way up along scenic Chuckanut Drive. At this time of the year, it is a vibrant tunnel, with thousands of golden leaves falling gently from the sun-dappled canopy. The leaves dance from our tires as we wind through the narrow byway.

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There is something about driving that makes conversation easy. Amy and I had hours together, stopping when a peek at the water or a path through the woods caught our eye. We talked about memories of our childhood, and the angst and tragedy, both real and imagined, of our youth. We laughed at concerts past. How we would enthusiastically weave our way through the crowd, ducking and dodging, to reach the coveted front row. And laughed even harder about how rude that seems now. It was worth the affront to gain a front-row seat to Steven Tyler, Bon Scott … Mick Jagger.

I love having sisters as best friends. I got lucky. I got two. The intimacy of knowing a person from birth is an extraordinary gift. We’ve shared rooms and secrets. We’ve fought, and we’ve made up. My sisters share my history. They know my soul.

I know family isn’t safe, or comfortable, for everyone. It can be tangled and messy. It can mean pain, and it can mean comfort. It has expectations. If you’re fortunate, stretched tightly beneath those expectations is a sturdy safety net. I am so thankful for the gift of my family. I have never felt alone, and I am grateful.

Happy birthday, sis. I love you.

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7 thoughts on “No, Dad. We don’t crowd-surf anymore.”

    1. Love you, too, Catherine … if we lived closer together, I know you’d be right with us, making our way to the front!

  1. The last paragraph brought tears to my eyes, had me shaking my head in agreement, and laughing…all at the same time. In any other setting, it would be the most convincing closing argument for “she must be admitted to the nearest mental hospital”…but here with a friend/“chosen family” I feel understood…and yes, safe.

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