Tuesday, November 25, 2008

things i'm thankful for, part one: my family.

since this is thanksgiving week (and a short one, for me, to boot), i thought it would appropriate to do a series of posts on things i’m thankful for—a series that, i think, will culminate in one big list that i’ll put up on thursday. (if you do the same, please link me—i’d love to read your posts/lists!)

it makes sense to start with family, of course. now, i’m not going to lie: my family has had our ups and downs. without getting into too much detail, let’s just say that my mom and i didn’t really start getting along until after i moved away to college (i was never a bad kid—quite the opposite—but her personality and mine clashed all through my teenage years), and my dad and i, while spitting images of each other personality-wise, have our own unique set of issues.

and then there’s my brother, who’s five years younger than me. he and i—though we both love each other dearly—tortured one another for years. we’ll just leave it at that.

you can relate to all this, i’m sure, no?

anyway, after i moved to sarasota more than two years ago, my relationships with both parents started to evolve. i talk to my mom on the phone every day—she is a friend now—and when my dad calls me, i feel like i can speak to him without feeling angry or sad, which is huge step forward. (in fact, i now feel like i can speak to him and actually enjoy the conversation.) and as for my brother, well—the last time i was home, he called me and asked me if i wanted to go out to dinner with him. (i almost cried.) we did, and we just talked—about our lives, our jobs, our parents. it was lovely.

in very large part, it is my family that keeps me grounded. we are not perfect, but we love each other. i remember, after my grandfather’s funeral this past april, sitting on my aunt’s front porch and staring numbly into the empty street. people—extended family members, close friends—were talking quietly to each other, but all of the sudden a brisk wind rushed down the street, ruffling our hair—and in that moment, i could feel my grandfather with me (i like to say he was always trying to ruffle our feathers). without any kind of preface, i looked at my dad and said, “that’s grandpa.” with teary eyes, he looked back at me and replied, “i know.” and my brother and mother knew, too; when i caught their eyes a few moments later, they both smiled and nodded. that’s the thing about families: if you’re lucky, you just get each other. i am really lucky.

p.s. family includes pets. fact.

p.p.s. is anyone else incredibly full of emotion this week? in case you can’t tell, i am—for various reasons, my senses are on high alert; i feel like my heart is going to beat right out of my chest, it’s so full.

{ funny 50s family by flickr user lost fun zone }

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