Recently, I had family over. It was a perfect time to gather for several reasons. My two sons were having birthdays, and my husband was going out of town and would miss the days. My daughter also wanted to introduce her fiancée to more of the family.
Conversations began over hors d’oeuvres and wine. Several played bocce ball on the lawn and chatted with my husband while he grilled chicken. The rest of us caught up with one another. I finished dinner in the kitchen. Then we sat down to eat.
While sitting around the dinner table after our meal, my husband read a story about a man who taser-ed himself. We began to laugh—no roar—as we wiped tears from our faces. Who writes about this stuff, anyway? I laughed until my sides and face hurt and tears rolled down my cheeks.
After the meal, a few people had to leave. The rest of us sat down in the den to chat.
My youngest son began to create nutty photos of himself (later, I created one of me) with Photo Booth on my husband’s iPad. The more pictures he created, the more we laughed. But when I asked this question, “Okay folks, tell me, what does this guy do for a living?’ about one of the photos, that several of us had to race to the bathrooms. I broke another rib.
We decided one of the people in the photos sold number 2 pencils—a true pencil pusher. Another one groomed hamsters. Okay, it’s certifiable. We’ve lost our minds. How in the world can well-educated people act so outrageously? I don’t know, but I do know I had good, clean fun.
I hope we haven’t run off my daughter’s fiancée. A person must have a measure of courage to sit at our table. (I do believe he has that, by the way!)
I have a wild conglomeration of a family. I won’t go into details, but we are very different from one another. Still, we love one another and manage to laugh at one another’s sometime-sick humor. We encourage one another as best as we know how, and we stand proud and happy for one another’s achievements and joy.
Within my extended family this year there have been four hospitalizations—several were quite serious, a couple car accidents, financial problems, relationship issues, the difficult birth of a baby, a graduation, an engagement, a new career and business, and trips to Europe, Japan, and other places. Parents have fretted over their children. The children have been angry with their parents, and brothers and sisters have disagreed. We’ve been proud and disappointed, afraid and encouraged.
You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family—or so the saying goes. You are born into a family, and when you have children, you can’t really choose, much less imagine what they will be like. Whatever you imagine will probably be wrong. I wouldn’t change a thing about my family—well maybe…just…a little.
Still, this is MY family—a messy-wonderful, ugly-beautiful, got-to-love-me bunch of people.
And my, I do love them, and I’m thankful they are mine.