Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We Are Family

We all gather at Mom and Dad's on Tuesday nights to work on quilts and other sewing projects. Heather (my youngest niece) made the dinner last night. Her minestrone was delightful on a cold, snowy day.

Brendan (my nephew) stopped in for a short rest. He has several commercial contracts to snowplow parking lots and expected to work all night. He stripped down to his long underwear and we threw his wet clothes in the dryer. Mom had baked his favorite treat (homemade bread filled with chunks of salami and mozzarella), so he ate a bunch and then curled up on the sofa to take a little nap.

Jim (my brother-in-law) came through on his way to his Tuesday night poker game. He munched down a cookie and hit the trail.

Individually we are quite crazy, and collectively, we are plenty dysfunctional. We irritate, aggravate and confuse one another on a daily basis, but we are one another's touch stones, the most fundamental of bottom lines.

When Dad's sister was here over the weekend, we all gathered in the sewing room. I was making flannel pajamas for my niece and telling Dad and uncle Bill some silly story. My sister was struggling with the computer that's supposed to drive Mom's embroidery machine. Mom was working on a blanket she's quilting as a favor to a woman who works for my brother-in-law. The dogs were aflutter, barking at everything that moved outside.

Aunt Gail's eyes filled with tears, over and over. She quietly wiped her eyes and carried on. Her only daughter died of a brain aneurysm more than 10 years ago, and she would give anything for our irritation and aggravation and confusion.

The only thing worse than family is not having one.


Michelle O'Neil said...


kario said...

You hit that nail on the head, my friend!

Have you ever read Po Bronson's book "Why Do I Love These People?" Check it out - it'll make you appreciate your nutty gene pool even more!

Deb said...

Amen, sister. There's a lot of love in your words and in the craziness of your family's gathering.

luckyzmom said...

We have none of our family near. Your cozy description fills me with longing.