Last week, I spent a week in beautiful Punta Cana in preparation for my younger sister's wedding. That week, and the group of people who joined us on the trip gave me some time to reflect on some of the relationships that carry us through life.
You have to understand, my sister had always been one of those shy, quiet people who could spend hours at a family gathering without saying more than ten words. Through martial arts, she helped develop her confidence and became more outgoing, though still never really saying more than necessary (unless you caught her with a group of friends - or my friends - where she wouldn't stop talking).
Though my sister never really had much to say, she did surround herself with a group of people who loved her and supported her, even when she decided to pick up with her now husband and move 12 hours from home following graduation from university (she chose to study accounting because she figured she could work for our father and would never have to worry about interviewing for a job).
The guest count at my sister's wedding was close to 50, which is uncommon for a destination wedding. These guests included our parents, as well as several aunts and uncles; our stepsister (who we've become much closer to in the past few years) with her husband and daughter; several of her friends (some of whom had traveled from all over Canada and even Belgium), as well as her former Tae Kwon Do instructor and a former training partner.
My sister is one of those people who values every relationship she builds, and that was made evident by the group of people who joined us on this trip. Some of these people, such as our family, had known her since birth. Others she had known since kindergarten. Some were high school or university friends, and a few were colleagues and new friends she has met in the 4 years she has been living out of province. Her Tae Kwon Do instructor cried as she walked down the aisle, and when my stepfather stated that he looked as though he was marrying off his own daughter, her coach replied that it felt as though he was.
All these people have helped to make my sister into the successful young woman she is today, and I think her fortunate to have been able to keep these relationships so strong despite the years and miles which have separated them.
As I reflect on my own relationships, I would like to recognize everyone who has helped me get to where I am today, and wish to thank each and every one of them, even if I haven't had a chance to do so in person recently. I know sometimes time and distance make it impossible to stay in touch on a regular basis, but I am a product of the relationships I have had, and would not be who I am today were it not for these exceptional people.