Posts Tagged With: families

je ne regrette (presque) rien

My brother got married.
In this room.

On Friday the thirteenth.
In January.
On Mt Hood.

At Timberline Lodge.

Where they shot the exteriors for The Shining.

Perhaps that tells you something about who he is. Who the woman he married is.
It sure as hell told me.

I haven’t seen my brother since my dad died over seven years ago. We talk occasionally, mostly we text. This seems to work for us.
Our relationship is tricky, but my love for him is genuine.

Since he met, and fell in love with this woman, he seems to me more like the little boy he was. More inclined to feel and express joy, more inclined to celebrate small things, less likely to focus on how much longer he has to be miserable in this life.

I will celebrate that until the last breath leaves my body!
But I’d choose to celebrate it from here while he feels love and joy there.
That’s what’s best for me. Not going into over-functioning ‘big sister mode’ around him. And though logically I know that’s unnecessary, that childhood conditioning kicks in, then the feeling borders on compulsion.

When YBW found out they were going to wed, he was so excited! He was like, I’m buying plane tickets right now! He enjoyed meeting my brother and would like to know him better.
Thing 2 was equally excited, bursting to celebrate with that beloved uncle!
Thing 1 was excited, but not eager to get on a plane across the country. Though neither did she want to miss anything.
I was over here like, this is a bad idea.
But as I’m his only sibling, and our parents are deceased, and my husband and youngest child were so unbelievably enthusiastic, I got on a plane across the country to celebrate my brother’s joy.
I mean, my husband, both my kids (and Boyfriend M) couldn’t go if I didn’t go, I’m the link, right?

It was as awkward as I’d imagined.
All her family (she’s one of six siblings), people she works with, my niece, who literally ran from me and her cousins, and my cousin, who stood up as best man, and the five of us.
Living through that meal was excruciating. There was no joy in Mudville, y’all. We were sat separately and essentially disregarded.
In all honesty, it was almost exactly what I expected.
But here’s the most important thing, I will always have the moment of seeing my brother’s tearful face filled with love and joy.
I don’t have to regret missing out on that.
And sometimes, that’s enough.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

directed by James Burrows

I just read a memoir, Directed by James Burrows.
You know his shows…
If you love (or like, or even just watched) any of them it’s an interesting read.
If you don’t it’s still an interesting read.

I remember my dad loving Taxi and Cheers.

I was seven when Taxi began and twelve when it ended. I remember being smart enough to understand how good it was, but young enough that most of it went over my head. I remember not getting Latka at all. I remember wondering why Louie was always so dang mad about stuff. I remember thinking there was something about Reverend Jim that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I remember being fascinated by Carol Kane’s voice. I remember not getting why it was funny but oh my goodness, did I love to sit with my dad and listen to him laugh.

By the time Cheers came on I was eleven so I was a teeny bit more savvy than I’d been at the start of Taxi. I remember feeling somewhat ambivalent to begin with. I remember wondering why Coach was so dumb. I remember wondering why we couldn’t see Sam play baseball instead of be in the bar. I remember liking Norm from the first episode. Carla was mean in a way I understood and could almost relate to. Diane was snooty and I didn’t like that. And I could not even with that damn mailman! Yet I continued watching. I grew up with the people in the place ‘where everybody knows your name’. That show helped shape my sense of humor through my teenage years and into my early twenties. I especially remember laughing with my dad as the jokes landed for both of us.

When Will and Grace premiered, I was a twenty-seven year old mom of two young daughters.
I didn’t watch this show with my dad.
But I did watch it religiously.
It remains one of my most favorite shows of all time.
Will, Grace, Karen, and Jack are selfish and flawed, but their love for each other is real. And because they love each other, we loved them too.
I didn’t love the three season reboot as much as I loved the original eight, but I gotta tell you I was so damn excited when it came back I could hardly contain myself!

Obviously Jimmy Burrows directed many more shows…but these are the three that are most special to me.

If you look at these shows you’ll find they all have the same underlying theme.
Your family is the people you choose.
Those people in that garage were a family.
Those people in that bar were a family.
Those people in 9C were a family.

Blood doesn’t make a family.
Acceptance makes a family.
A magical combination of compassion and selfishness makes a family.
Choice makes a family.
Love makes a family.

The ability to choose your family is one of the universe’s most precious gifts.
I encourage you to choose wisely.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

love is not a contest and I don’t have to choose a favorite

These thoughts hatched while I was washing my hair this morning.

I’ve always said parents have a favorite kid even if they don’t admit it. This is of course, if they have more than one kid. Each kid also has a favorite parent. Kids don’t like to admit it either.
The thing is, for the most part, cohabitating humans are not unaware of each other. Sometimes, it’s understood but never spoken. Sometimes it’s understood and spoken. Sometimes no one favors any one else.

The family I made kind of naturally split down the middle.
Thing 1 and her daddy.
Thing 2 and me.

Thing 2 was my favorite.
But not because Thing 1 wasn’t.

Thing 1 was all about her daddy. I mean, those two were like peas and carrots. I never felt left out, but I never felt that level of connection with Thing 1.
I didn’t feel like I was allowed to choose her as my favorite because she and her dad were already each other’s favorite.

Thing 2 came along and our bond was completely different than my bond with her sister. It was powerful and chock full of unwavering love.
We kind of became each other’s favorite by default.
For years that’s simply how our family was.

When the marriage dissolved, that down middle split became a chasm.
It was terrible for all of us.
I’m only now truly realizing how bad it was for the girls.
I humbly ask their forgiveness for my part in that time in our lives.

What’s interesting about this whole favorites thing, (I’m simplifying the hell out of this to get to my point.) is that I’m under the impression the Things think I switched favorites.

From my point of view, it’s not a switch in favorites.
It’s more that for the first time, I feel as though Thing 1 is an option to favorite.

I’ve discussed my relationship with each of my daughters.
This is somehow different.
I mean, partly it is about how we relate to each other, then and now. Partly it’s because we’re each at different places in our lives.
I never expected to feel as close to Thing 1 as I do now. I’m grateful for that. More than I have words for.
I don’t feel any less connected to Thing 2 because of it.
I have the ability to love them both at the same time in two completely different ways.

They can’t each by my favorite.
Yet they actually are.
Each one, my favorite in a different way.
Is that growth?
Is it that we’re no longer under the spell of their dad?

All I know is that I feel differently about favorite kids and parents than I did before.
I feel fortunate that I have the option to favorite either one, or both of my daughters.
Perhaps because I have the option, I don’t have to choose it?

Love isn’t a contest.
Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.
I love my daughters in exactly the same, yet completely different ways, and I don’t really want it any other way.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

tidings of comfort and joy (and donuts)

I got up early this morning to take friends to the airport. I left YBW and his two Things at home fast asleep.
My student (who’s mother died in March) and his daddy are going “home” for Christmas.
Their little family and mine have become so close that we are now truly a part of each other’s families. The little boy calls Thing 2 his daughter. He heard me say it once and then took her all around the school and said to anyone who would listen, “This my daughter, Thing 2.” He also says, “Thing G my favorite.” Mostly he says, “I go you house Robynbird?”
So Thing 2’s three year old “dad”, D has become a ‘nephew’ to YBW and me and his daddy, S feels to me like a ‘younger brother’. This morning I was their big sister/aunt and packed them up and drove them to the airport, left them with hugs and kisses and promises to let me know when they arrived safely.

A song that I always associate with Thing 2 began to play and I was flooded with equal feelings of joy and sadness. My initial concern about starting my day poorly with sadness faded as the song went on and joy overwhelmed my sadness. I’m relieved to realize I can feel sad about missing her but those feelings don’t consume me. The feelings of joy, the memories of driving too fast with the windows down blasting this song and singing it at the tops of our voices are too good to hand over to the sadness of missing my girl.

I drove home as the sky lightened with the idea to stop and get donuts to bring home to the boys…I know what each of them likes so it was pretty easy to choose a dozen and grab a cappuccino on the way home.
So here I sit, with my take out coffee waiting for three boys to wake up. The little Christmas tree lighted, the menorah waiting for it’s last few nights of candles, the stockings hung by the chimney with care and my heart filled with comfort and joy.
20141221_082552
I do wish these boys would get on up though, I’m hungry!

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

pajama day of deliciousness

DSCN1180

My little friends celebrated a month of hard work studying families and food with “pajama day of deliciousness”.
We all came to school in our jammies, even the two teachers.
We read Cupcake before we iced and decorated (then ate) cupcakes. We read The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres before we made soupe au fromage. (That we will eat when it’s time for our snack this afternoon.) We popped corn and watched Ratatouille (a movie about both food and families) while lying around on the floor on pillows from our Tree House Library.

I’m sick…a cold that has taken up residence in my chest…and left the movie at home this morning when I came to school. (Many thanks to YBW who brought it to school on his way to work!)
Even though I’m feeling puny I’ve had such a wonderfully fun day and couldn’t wait to share!

Categories: education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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