inheriting an extended family

I missed my mom a lot this weekend. I mean, it was mother’s day, so I am contractually obligated to miss her, you know, as a dutiful daughter who does not have a heart of stone.  But I also realized that it’s been about a month since I’ve seen her, and it’s going to be another five months, probably, before I see her again, and that made me sad. I called her on Sunday, and got her voicemail; she called me back, and got my voicemail. We keep missing each other. You know what I mean.

I missed her a lot Sunday afternoon, when we went to E’s family’s barbecue–all twelve million people in his family, flying through the house with giant bowls of potato salad under their arms, and baskets of chips and dips and fruits and wine and more fruit and more kinds of salad. They were grilling steaks the size of my face. That is not an exaggeration for comedic effect. There were stacks of hamburgers and platefuls of hot dogs and a bunch of chicken and everything was covered in Cajun spices and more delicious than it had any right to be.


We drank a lot of wine and put a lot of food in our faces, yet more
kept coming. We played badminton. I am very bad at badminton, and blame
my poor depth perception, which I didn’t know I had before, and for
which I was mocked, which is rude. It is unfair to mock the
handicapped.  It is hard to play badminton with a glass of wine in
your hand.  I cut up pineapple for a four year old and helped the old
dog down off the porch and talked about shorts with a cousin and sex
with an aunt and growing hops with another cousin and making ice cream
with an uncle and cut the tops off strawberries for a six year old. It
was hard to sit down for longer than it takes to eat a hot dog. My wine
glass was always full.

They are a big family, and it’s pretty wonderful. We sat in the back
yard (and ran and dodged and ate and whacked shuttlecocks) and I
realized that really, this was the best of all possible worlds. That I
lucked into this huge, crazy, incredibly kind family who love me almost
as much as they love E, and that is a lot. I am as astonished as you
are. I have always wanted a big family, and look at this. Look at them.
That’s a lot of family. That’s a lot of kindness. Why do they all kick
my ass at badminton?

But I missed my little family. We are a little family, and I think we
do okay in the wonderful department. It makes me sad that I am so much
a part of E’s family, and he has not yet met the people who are so
important to me. I can’t wait for you to meet my mom, I tell him. I
can’t wait for you to meet my brother, and his wife, and my aunts. I
really can’t wait. They will love him, I think, as much as they love
me, will be as good to him as his family is to me. I am impatient
to–repay, I guess, this feeling I get when I am sitting in the midst of
all of these people who are suddenly my extended family. Who make me
feel so much less far away from my own family.

  1 comment for “inheriting an extended family

  1. May 13, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Nothing smart or helpful 2 say..just wanna tell you guys, I absolutely, positively down right LOVE your writing!!!
    Brings such a smile to my face!!!
    OH! and Thanx 4 the captcha that acually recognizes the characters you type, unlike Daily Mail..

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