A Dream of Downton Abbey Moments
Thanksgiving is fading into the distance, while the Christmas holiday looms on the horizon in front of me. And the children return home. The house fills with chaos and conversation. My favorite conversations are the ones I overhear about books they’re reading or ideas they’ve learned. I smile.
Not so long ago, when they were all under my roof, they spent little time listening to one another, spread apart by age and life stages.
In those days, little brother was a big bother who interrupted sister play. Sometimes, they tolerated him and let him be the cat, Crouton. In the summer, they imagined rescuing orphans from the evil Miss Hannigan and Miss Rat while my son plowed fields with miniature tractors and fed plastic animals. Then, the chasms between elementary and middle and high school separated them. Often, they argued and avoided one another.
At times, I wondered if they’d ever have real relationships with real conversations that they’d really enjoy. And then it happened. I overhear it in their conversations. “What are you taking next semester?” “Do you like this shirt?” “What do you want for Christmas?” My heart thrills when I hear, “I talked to my sister the other day,” or “he texted me about that.”
I’m not sure how or when it happened, but the three people I love the most like each other.
A Real Downton Abbey Moment
I thought about that change recently while reading the reunion between Jacob and Esau in Genesis 33. Jacob knew that his twin might try to kill him and his family because he had deceived Esau and cheated him out of his inheritance. Bad blood. But, when they met (grab the tissues), “Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.” A real Downton Abby moment.
You know the moment. On Downton Abbey’s last episode of the last season, Lady Edith, a sister perpetually poked by her prickly older sister, Lady Mary, reconciles with her saying, “You’re my sister. In the end only we will remember Sybil or mama or papa, or Matthew or Michael, or granny or Carson, until our shared memories will mean more than our mutual dislike.” Tissue, please.
Shared memories. Some good. Some not so good. But those shared memories unify them and give them a foundation to build lives on and return to at holidays with texts in between.