Some time ago -- well, July 16, to be exact -- Bozoette Mary posted an entry called "five words in a stream of consciousness." She said that another blogger, Dichroic, had "given her five words to riff off of." Hers were "family, aging, juggling, writing and police." And she did a wonderful job.
She offered to send five words to someone else too, if they wanted to try it. Naturally, I said "sure" and so today she sent me my five words. Let's see how I can work them into a coherent journal entry:
It's easy to start with family because tomorrow is scheduled to be Cousins Day (so expect the next journal entry late, right?), This whole "family" thing is very strange for me and I think I have a warped view about it all.
My mother is from a large, very close family, but since my father hated them, I didn't grow up feeling a part of the family, as Peach and Kathy did, so the development of cousins day has been so wonderful for me, making me feel a real part of the family again.
My father's parents had nothing to do with any relatives on either side of the family (except one brother, my godfather). My grandfather had five siblings, my grandmother had 1 brother, but I don't think I ever met any of them. We saw my father's parents constantly so you'd think there would be a closeness there, but since my father hated his mother and she drove us all nuts, it was more a "we have to see them" thing rather than a familial closeness.
When my mother remarried, it was my thought that I would become part of a conjoined family but that never happened. I guess that's why the family closeness of Walt and me and our kids is so important. I hear people talk about how they never speak to their siblings and I'm so glad that's not the case in this family -- at least not so far. (Heck, Karen and I barely spoke--not that there was any animosity, but she just removed herself from the family when she was in high school.)
When I was little, I thought a lot about adoption. It was at the height of my Judy Garland fanatacism and I was convinced that if my mother would only put me up for adoption somewhere in the Hollywood area, Judy Garland would adopt me. Now THERE would have been a screwed up family to belong to!
I love the families where there is closeness among all the generations. Walt's family is a perfect example. His mother is the lone representative of her generation. His father died before I met him. But she has always been extremely close to her children, perhaps because she was a single mom raising three kids. I worry so much about what will happen when Alice dies, particularly with Walt's sister who has always treated her mother as her best friend. But Walt and his brother are also extremely close to their mother.
(Picture from Christmas 2004)
It makes me so happy to see how Jeri, Ned and Tom feel about Alice, and about my mother as well. They all have a good relationship with both of their grandmothers. And if Alice lives long enough for Brianna to realize who her "Tutu" is, I'm sure she will also feel very close to her.
The one important element in dealing with family, however normal or weird it may be, is a sense of humor. My father wasn't the best father in the world, but he did pass along to me a great sense of humor which has sustained me through many crises. You can't spend 10 minutes with Walt's family without enjoying their shared laughter, and even without appletinis, Cousins Day is a time for laughing and enjoying one another.
(So, Mary? How did I do?)