“The informality of family life is a blessed condition that allows us to become our best while looking our worst.” ~Marge Kennedy
I learned to be who I am, from my family. For many years this was not an easy truth for me to accept, and a fair amount of the time, they probably don’t want credit for it; but it’s true. We are a band of wanderers; being of the same ilk, coming together as a whole is not all that common of an occurrence. Yet, for these few months, we are under the same roof and face the same adventures. In being aware of the uniqueness of this situation, we treasure it all the more.
We wander around the house in pajamas all day and pull out the old VHS tapes for trips down memory lane. Recordings of Anna riding her first two-wheel bike, Joshua’s take on his first day of Kindergarten, me guiding tours of our various residences. In these clips we sniff out the elements which augmented as we grew; the whispers of who we are becoming.
In the here and now, we learn to relate in ever changing dynamics. I am a 25 year old woman, yet I want Dad to watch me jump real high on my bike. I am deeply offended that Mom didn’t stop by my room to check on my toe after I smooshed it. I felt this indignation justified when the X-Rays revealed that it was broken. Then there are the siblings. The parents oft remind us that after they are gone, we are who each other will have. We share blood and narrative.
Despite our propensity for geographic wandering, we are a tight knit clan. Little-Sister-Face Middle-Child fills the role of “communicator” very well. Whereas Joshua and I are happy to meander off after our respective interests, she is the glue that reminds to bind. With her wedding date fast approaching, we rush to make up for time passed even as we prepare for the new dynamic.
For 15 years we fought over who GOT to have their own bed room and who HAD to sit in the middle on long car rides. Now we sneak into each others’ rooms and argue over who GETS to sleep in the middle. But you know what, we still argue, and we still borrow each others things and sometimes forget to ask before-hand, or forget to put them back where they belong. But we are a lot better about doing the dishes. So, we move forward, a flawed and faithful family.
As I write this, Anna is napping in my bed and again I am aware of a particular sensation which only she elicits. There are not words for it, but if you are an older sibling you know to what I refer. It’s a tugging toward, to protect and adore.
I’ve had to redefine some notions of relationship binds to make room for her chosen one to come into our family. Oddly enough, meeting his family helped me move in that direction. Knowing that we share the same basic principles and priorities; that they come to us, bring their own
uniqueness, love, and strength.
I guess it all goes back to the childhood lesson: SHARE.