I see connection in my life, every day. I see it in nature, in relationships, in the items I’ve collected, in new items I acquire, the way I drive, how I organize my closets, and how I respond to myself through thoughts and self-talk.
Sometimes I delight in recognizing those connections and other times I wish to change them. Most of the time I crave the connections. I crave the ability to identify and understand on a deeper level who I am and how I am. I crave opportunities to make more connections both within myself and with the world outside of myself, though I don’t believe these are exclusive of each other.
Recently, I made a visit to Nebraska to visit family. It was a connection down memory lane. As a child and teen I had spent many holidays, and summers on my Grandparents’ ranch and in the surrounding area.
On this recent trip I found myself witnessing the reconnection between two people and was struck with pleasure at seeing this occur. I was with my Uncle Mark, my mother’s youngest brother, as he and my younger brother, Joe, connected through FaceTime. It had been years since they had seen each other face to face, and the joy and energy I witnessed experienced between them made my heart swell. Life had kept them apart. One lives in Nebraska, the other in Arizona. Their work and family obligations had made it difficult to come together.
It was instant, their reconnection. While they caught up and got filled in on the basics of their lives, their interaction returned to as it always had been. They immediately began brainstorming on projects, tossing around ideas, laughing and joking with each other. Then I witnessed the deepening of their connection. They expressed the love they have for each other and Uncle Mark added “I love your girls, Joe. It’s been nice to meet them and have them here.” I watched as the statement touched Joe. It was beautiful (my niece and sister-in-law had made the trip, too).
Two days later I got to witness the beginning of a new connection. My three year old niece was meeting with my grandfather who has been in a care facility for a few years with memory related issues and physical decline. Grandpa enjoys visitors and talks a lot, given the chance, though much of his language isn’t often connected to who he is speaking to. However, on this day he watched as my niece danced, fingered the keys of a piano, and bounced around before coming to greet him. As she came near he leaned forward and asked her directly, “How old are you?” She held up three fingers and said “Three.” He responded with, “Wow!” and a big smile. She smiled back at him and took his outstretched hand. Connection.
Connection is important to us humans. It grounds us, gives us boundaries and guides, pushes us, makes us feel special and sometimes frightened. Allowing children to develop connections to their world, the people in their lives, and to themselves builds the social and emotional structures they need to be successful in life.
What connections are you noticing in your life?