This last weekend our family experienced a tragic loss and as with any experience like this it makes you question the choices you have made. Meagan was a beautiful young girl who was a truly gifted artist. When she was little it would look like she was just colouring like any other 9 or 10 year old and you would look over her shoulder and find an intricate scene on the paper in front of her. As she got older she became our go to babysitter and seemed to tolerate Jamie and me. She always had a soft spot for Patrick. The older Meagan got the more expressive she became. People always say be yourself it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, well Meagan was one of those rare people who was always herself. She used her appearance as another outlet for her creativity. You would never know what colour her hair would be or how exactly she came to that combination of accessories but hey that was Meagan’s thing.
It seems that as the years went on we would see her less and less. We were starting our careers, having babies and busy. She was a teenager, what teenager wants to hang out with her older brother and his wife? When we did see her she always seemed to be looking for a way to get back downstairs where she could just hang out with Patrick and get away from the rest of us. It was all normal teenage stuff and you just figure at some point spending the weekend at the Ocean with the whole crew will stop being torture and eventually be enjoyable again. I figure this happens sometime between 20 and 25. So we made no effort. Sure we would ask her questions and try to have a conversation when we saw her but really we were so wrapped up in our own lives that we didn’t do any more than that. That will be a regret I will have forever. You assume you will always have time. You assume when she grows out of it, when we aren’t so busy. Someday you will be able to hang out have a beer, laugh, and just be siblings. We have no more time.
I plan on becoming a nightmare to every teenager in my life going forward. I don’t care how much they don’t want to, I plan on having conversations. Actually stopping to listen and ask the follow up questions, try to understand what they are doing, and giving undivided attention.