Beginner's Heart

the author's

the author’s

Last weekend was family central. There are times when family seems a chore (we all have those moments!), but this weekend could not have been smoother, or more fun. Everyone in town made it, to celebrate my 3rd sister, who lives just outside of Dallas. She and her beloved came up, stayed with us, and we all went out to brunch for her birthday.

What is it about sharing food? And old family jokes — even at my expense? Even the youngsters — the nieces & nephews, as we call them — join in. It seems to the obviously unbiased me that we have more fun than most families — we kid, joke, tease, and are generally a bit crazy. One of the family stories is that my elder son went on a blind date, even after his friend said the girl was ‘a little crazy.’ Elder sSn reassured his friend that his aunts were crazy; he was used to it.

Apparently, Elder Son reported later, it was not the same kind of fun-loving crazy! She was NUTS, Mom!. We aren’t — just a little funnier and goofier than some.

Our families shape us, obviously. Their values are the matrices of our own belief systems, whether we accept them — colouring inside  those lines, as it were — or reject them. And the labels that attach in childhood are hard to shake, even decades later. Fortunately, so is the love, no matter differences. It continues, and we’re all glad.

What does your family value? Obviously, mine treasures our time together, driving long distances (and Skyping from even longer ones) to keep in touch. Younger son Skypes in regularly from the latest disaster area (and I’m only half-kidding: so far he’s weather a typhoon, a flood, and an earthquake in less than a month…). Elder son FaceTimes w/ his own elder son, my wonderful grandson. Elder son also invited his cousin and her partner for Thanksgiving last fall, completely on his own. As I said, we like  each other.

via google

via google

Perhaps that’s what I value most — the laughing acceptance of my own fallibilities, and the familiarity of my family’s. Who would trade the sister jokes? The sister songs? Even the inherited almost-sister friends — 2nd sister’s BFF and school chums, for instance, are invited to most family events. Not to mention the incoming partners of the next generation — smart, funny, wise young men & women, already woven deeply into the family fabric. Or the shared stories of Uncle Dick teasing Grandmother, and my cousin Sally remembering my mother making pineapple upside down cake at 10 p.m.

For what it’s worth, I’m fairly certain I could not have been even this far along my beginner’s heart journey w/out the support of my family: my old ladies, who taught me grit and laughter, not to mention how to cook! My aunts, who modelled so many important character traits: motherhood, sisterhood, daughterhood. My mother, my father, my mother-in-law & father-in-law… But these days? My sisters, and their sons & daughters. My beloved, and our sons, DIL, grandson. These almost impromptu get-togethers over food & laughter. It’s a good time to remember that despite the occasional craziness, I’m pretty darn lucky.

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