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Childhood is filled with its own language. We have nicknames and pet names. We rename things and especially within a family there are made-up words for things. One of my childhood words is lo-los (pronounced low-lows). Lo los is oatmeal. My cousin Jay called hamburgers, hangeebergs. My niece Sarah called elephants, el kneeknees. Somewhere in my very early childhood, despite my Christian name of Elizabeth and my common name of Lisa, my sisters nicknamed me Lulie. No one is quite sure where it came from, but it my most treasured childhood possession. My sisters, like so many siblings are oft to be, are not very close. It is the consequence of the archetypal dysfunctional family that for all outward appearances looks “normal”. In the vernacular of my family, there is some genuine irony that there are three of us.  In Bowen family systems, we are classic. But in my heart, I have arrived having finished my 4th decade knowing nothing can strip me of two older sisters who still both call me Lulie. It is a loving, tender, kind affection bestowed upon a baby sister. And it is the treasured gem I hold most dear. When I am very old, and my sisters are even older, I can hear their old lady voices speaking my baby sister name, Lulie. And like aging veterans of some foreign war, we will sit in silence knowing we have each had similar experiences, battle scars from long ago wounds. When it rains the echoes of those old injuries remind us of our journey. We each fought on our own front. Some battles lasted longer. Some have their own Hiroshima. Some plagued by counterintelligence. We all now recognize the battle fatigue. We each fought our own way and we have each survive. And for me, I was gifted a tiny measure of something from my sisters, who let me be “little”. They called me a tiny, pet name and let me be small. Even now, when they use the nickname, it makes me feel small and it is a feeling for which I am thankful.

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