Lessons from Growing Up in the Midline


Last week — brief as it was — I had the chance to reconnect with my five brothers and sisters. The six of us gathering with countless other relatives to witness the funeral ceremony for our 99 year old grandmother. Grandma Yula passed away in her sleep, in mid afternoon the day after Mother’s Day. Her frail condition over the last several months, signaled her readiness to return Home.  As each of us received word  of her passing, we began to phone, email and text each other, making our plans to travel east. Carolyn’s home would serve as our anchor, our meeting place. With last-minute flights hovering way north of our checking account balances, Judy, Bob and David rented a Lincoln cruiser (thanks to Chrisine’s “she-sells-cars” connections). Maureen wrangled a piecemeal flight from Priceline and I tapped into my frequent flier miles for a 6 AM departure to Newark, by way of Chicago. Amidst heavy spring storms centered in the midwest, by Thursday afternoon, we had all made it through the country’s midline and arrived in New Jersey  — in time for the first of several family gatherings.

There’s something amazing about the connection we all have as brothers and sisters — this connection that doesn’t even think twice about navigating flights, rain and work schedules to meet up with each other. And though I did not come to appreciate and truly leverage this gift until these last few years, I love that I am a part of the McCann family, sponsored by Jerry and Kathleen McCann.

As scrappy as we are in this snapshot from a time long passed, I realize that the closeness we all share today is a result, in large part, of growing up, hugging “the midline”. Carolyn has referred to it as “the Iowa factor”, and we all pay tribute to our midwestern roots. But ‘hugging the midline’ is also a term I borrow from my Anusara based yoga practice.  “Hugging the midline is created when you access the strength of your core energy to support the pose from within, rather than relying on the strength of the outermost muscles to hold the pose.” — Ash blog.  Because the physical practice of yoga has been a tool for me to apply the principles of alignment and asana off the mat as well — I am reminded again of the lessons from the midline.

  1. No matter how tough it gets, we still have each other. Unconditionally.  Geeky glasses and all.
  2. It’s still home, no matter where you pitch your tent. From Arizona to Colorado to Chicago’s west suburbs to New Jersey, somehow we’re all “home” whenever we come together.
  3. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Individually, I am one, younger middle sister, who spent much of her youth seeking happiness outside the “midline”, the family. Now I know with certainty that I am so much more because I am connected to the strength, the community and the love that this family is made up of.

So let’s click our red sparkly shoes together three times . . . there’s no place like home [in the midline].

Post by Sandi McCann, 3 sister



2 Responses to “Lessons from Growing Up in the Midline”

  1. Carolyn Says:

    Sandi-that is beautiful.. there is no place like siblings….. yes those “heartland” roots…. up and down Palisades park along the Mississippi River.. no amusement park rollercoaster rides there.. we were our own amusement and we hung out in the parks throughout the midwest… for our kicks.. that was the glue..
    You got to send this to the rest of our family from last weekend, Karen and all.. are we ready for primetime yet? I think so…. no time like the present.

  2. judyfloeter Says:

    I am always aware of how important my family is in holding me up. We know ourselves because we have had one another. Each of us teaches lessons to the others. And, I have always loved the midwest, though I travel to the east and west. The midwest with its flat fields or rolling prairies lends stability, calmness and rest to the eyes. Lots of things grow here and are nurtured here, especially families. We are who we are because we truly were a family. We trust in each other. We listen to each other. We practice our ‘stuff’ on each other. We’re safe with each other. We let each other alone for just long enough. I think that many families grow up thinking much more individualistically. We grew up more collectively. In the collective, the entire group moves forward and amazing power is unleashed onto the world.

    I believe that Frank and Yula established a tremendous legacy of family when they started visiting each of their children, every year, in whichever location they landed. We keep this up by visiting each other. It is important.

    Thank you Sam for your beautiful sentiments.

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