I write occassionally about the special occasions that bring guests to A Butler’s Manor, such as Matt’s proposal to Nicole. Weddings in the area are of course a key attraction, as are class reunions and milestone birthdays. Once we had a week-long family reunion where the family (who occupied all five rooms) all left their shoes in a neat row by the staircase and slept with their doors open. In this latter circumstance Chris’s training as a butler stood him in good stead as he tiptoed upstairs each day with early morning coffee.
The other day, we had another family reunion, much smaller. Three siblings….and the youngest sister was meeting her brother and sister in person for the first time in her memory.
When Little Sister called to make the reservations, she told us about the planned reunion. She had been a toddler when their father left her mother, taking the older children, who were in their early teens, with him.
Older Sister had pined for the baby sister she remembered and, as an adult, had tried with little success to track her down. Father had forbidden the older kids to even mention their sister’s name. After he died, she found among his papers information that helped her track the younger sister.
Little Sister, upon initial contact, needed time to process things, and promised to arrange a meeting by Spring. This was that meeting. She wanted neutral territory, somewhere comfortable and homey and…safe. She thought A Butler’s Manor would be perfect.
Each sibling lives in a different state. The sisters each lived within driving distance. Brother flew in, and Older Sister picked him up.
Little Sister arrived early (we’d authorized the use of the garden for a pre-check in meeting) and asked us to put a memento she’d created for her siblings in their rooms once we had them ready. It was, luckily, a beautiful Spring day, the garden full of daffodils. We set up a pot of coffee and waters for them to enjoy while we prepared their rooms.
To say she was nervous understates her emotional state. It was somewhere between excited and terrified.
The older siblings arrived on schedule, and as requested, Chris and I met them at the front door and escorted them back to where Little Sister sat (actually, paced) at a table before the fountain. Brother brought roses, champagne, and glasses. We brought loads of Kleenex.
It was an emotional meeting, to be sure. From the doorway, we watched for a moment as there was a wordless, five minute group hug. Over the afternoon, evening, and late into the night, there were many, many tears, much laughter, and thousands upon thousands of words, building the bridge that will span a 35 year absence.
When they checked out the following day, we had tears in our eyes too. Life will be certainly be different for this now-reunited family. We wish them long, happy years of exploring their similarities and differences, of get-togethers, holidays, phone calls and visits.
Chris and I are thrilled to have witnessed their joy, and feel so honored to have been a small part in helping facilitate it.
Seriously, who wouldn’t want to be in our business!?
Quote of the Day: Certainly, people can get along without siblings. Single children do, and there are people who have irreparably estranged relationships with their siblings who live full and satisfying lives, but to have siblings and not make the most of that resource is squandering one of the greatest interpersonal resources you’ll ever have. –Jeffrey Kluger