The Joy of Family

I love my family. But most important, I like them, too.

Today is Mother’s Day and I am at my parents’ house surrounded by the people I love. I know whenever we are all together there will be hugs and kisses, laughter and even tears of joy.

My dad, the patriarch, always has his designated seat on the sofa in the living room while the rest of the family—my mom and daughter, and my siblings and sisters-in-law—stake out seats in the kitchen or in the dining room. Dad makes a few rounds to the kitchen for a bite to eat and a drink or two, and then migrates back to the living room where there is usually a sports game or a Western on television.

My adorable nephew, a two-year-old ball of energy, moves about the area with familiarity, and the comfort of being at home. He is talking up a storm now, so everything he says sounds sweet to our ears. We clap and give praise to encourage him to talk more. And he does!

My sweetheart sister has a gift for knowing just what everyone needs or wants. Her gift-giving ideas are second to none, and she never disappoints. She takes her time and makes sure she selects just right gifts for the guests of honor, and it is fitting because she is an artist and you know what perfectionists artists can be. (wink)

My younger brother is the jokester in the family; he keeps us in stitches. Whether he is fondly mocking our dad or teasing us all, co-narrating stories with his wife about their latest vacation excursion or wrestling in the kitchen with my youngest brother, he is always a joy to have around.

Speaking of my youngest brother…he is cool. His laid back personality always puts everyone at ease. He enters the house saying hello to all, slowly and deliberately making his way to everyone to offer a hug before reaching my nephew who shrieks and giggles with delight as my brother tosses him in the air and catches him.

My sisters-in-law are beautiful women, and I don’t just mean physical beauty. They have big hearts and their confident and unassuming natures are…beautiful.

It’s a pleasure to watch the two-year-old’s mom interact with him. She is still a new mom, but she has adapted to this role with ease and aplomb, as if it is old hat to her. To witness the love in her actions and to hear the patience in her voice as she talks to her son is admirable. She gives him just enough space to explore and run free, but she is close enough to rescue and protect him if needed.

My other sister-in-law is a mom-to-be. I will have another nephew and we are all counting down the days until the little bundle of joy makes his arrival in September. I know she will wear motherhood well.

Standing off to the side, but not quite out of view is my daughter, cool as a cucumber. Occasional glances in her direction reveal her eyes and ears are attentive to the activity around her. A head nod here, a subtle smile there…she is enjoying us all being together, too.

And then there is mom, the matriarch and pillar of strength who gives our family doses of inspiration and ear loads of encouragement as needed; a staunch supporter of our ability to etch our rightful place in the world; the friendly face and soothing voice we gravitate to when life gets too hard and we need a safe place to rest and regroup.

Sometimes, when I talk to some people about my family, I am mocked. They say we sound like the Brady Bunch because we get along well and spend time together and support and celebrate each other. Then they share that their family life is not so good. They tell me they wish their family was like mine. I feel sad when I hear of this because I cannot fathom being at odds with my family. But it also re-enforces the gratitude and the love and the joy I have for them. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I love you, Fam!

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