Over the weekend we went to LA to spend Thanksgiving with my husband's side of the family.
There are many sides to our family, by the way, many splinters and facets, and I often field questions from my girls asking exactly how we're related to a particular person with some variation of this response: technically, I'm not sure, but he is basically like a cousin and it's much warmer to think of him that way, so shall we just go with that?
I'm not trying to dismiss their curiosity and I really do lay out the connection...it's just even with that, I often don't know the answer.
How is one related to the child of a child of a woman your great uncle married years ago, who has grown up very much a part of this family?
To me, the answer's easy: family.
It doesn't even have to be that close.
I took Charles Portis with me, of course. What did you expect, dear reader? That I would ask a friend to perform the rituals of his care and feeding, or check him into a 5 inch kennel at the vet's?
Franchement, what do you take me for?!
No, much to his disinterest, he came along for the ride. Also making the trip were 24 pinhead crickets, carefully ensconced in a cage, NONE of which could be found when we pulled up to our destination late Wednesday night.
Do you suppose I was upset, dear reader? Not really. If anything, it made me happy. I always root for the underdog, even when it entails a small legion of crickets infiltrating our car.
At any rate, it was a wonderful weekend. We got to meet new babies and new couples and celebrate the very real grace of so many loved ones being able to gather for yet another year.
We visited farmer's markets, taught aunties to weave bracelets, and shared moments of conversation which touched my heart deeply.
Izzy took down nearly every card shark in the family and believe me, she comes from a long line of them.
One of many things I'm grateful for: the aunts who host this tradition. The uncles, too, but in particular, I've watched Roger's aunts over the years, how they navigate the good times as well as inconveniences, disappointment, and grief. It is with strength, gentility, and love. With honesty, too, and no doubt, moments of great struggle. I'm not trying to sugarcoat anything, nor would I care to.
So many good examples have been laid out before me.
One of them gave me this when I arrived, cricketless, that very first night. I couldn't be cool about it. I couldn't stop my voice from escalating to its childhood falsetto which, for me, is a very rare thing.
If you're asking yourself: is that as awesome as I think it is?
The answer is: and then some.