The Familiarity of Family

We sat on the deck, half the table bathing in late-day sunlight, the other half comfortable in shade. The kids cut through their steaks, cooked perfectly on the grill. I forked up salad in just the right amount of dressing. We gnawed on corncobs.

There was no reason for our gathering except that we wanted to. A summer Sunday and my mother had prepared a wonderful dinner for me and the kids, then my sister jumped in. And just like that, we were together and happy and basking in the familiarity of family.

It’s a mixed bag, family. The same people who love you unconditionally, judge you unconditionally too. The place where you feel you just don’t fit is the same place you come home to, where the safety net is spread wide to catch you when you fall.

Funny, isn’t it? We can hate our family and love them at the same time. They know all our foibles, all our flaws, and hopefully all our wonderful traits, too.

It’s where my children love to play with cousins, the kids whom they always enjoy seeing, share a bond with lifelong. It’s where we can laugh at ourselves and each other – yes I have standards, I say to my sister. You do? Yes, it’s Dan who doesn’t. And we laugh.

And as the kids grow older, and we do at the same time, family is the place we go to, to make sure we’re doing it right, that we look OK even as we age, that we are still loved, still accepted, still home.

This morning it was still dark as I rose to swim. The summer is waning, though I’m sad to say. The bananas were overripe so I found a blueberry-banana gluten-free bread recipe online and whipped it together before the kids awoke.

I roasted the zucchini and carrots for dinner tonight so it won’t be a rush before Asher’s World Series baseball game. I made a thermos lunch in case my father can’t make it to our weekly connection. The boys are golfing with him this morning, our treat for Papa’s Father’s Day.

The new day reminds us that we get to start over every single morning. We get second and third and umpteenth chances all the time. It’s never too far down the wrong path to turn around. And there is always somewhere we will be welcomed home.


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