Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Family Ties that Bind

So, my family is crazy. Not in a bad way though (mostly). In a good, hilarious, keep-you-on-your-toes, thank-God-they're-around-to-keep-me-grounded kind of way.

We had a belated wake for my Grandpa Bill last weekend in Davenport, WA, on my aunt and uncle's farm. Grandpa grew up in Davenport and raised his family there, for the most part. He would have been 90 years old on March 15th of this year. He passed away May 23, 2005, at the ripe ol' age of 86. I wish he was still here. Have LOTS of questions for him... But I digress a bit (there will have to be a whole separate post about him later).

The man loved Black Russians, so I thought it would be fitting to bring the ingredients so we could properly toast him. At the liquor store I contemplated the size of the vodka and coffee liqueur bottles before settling on the medium size. In retrospect, should have gotten the large bottles (we polished off the medium ones).

We spent the day eating (everything from white chili to pizza to green olive dip to chocolate cake), drinking, looking at old family photos and playing Chinese Ping Pong - which I highly recommend if you have never played. We even called my new Uncle Pat (who also will get a blog post of his own) in Minnesota - my Aunt Joy, dad and Uncle Lenny got to talk to him for the very first time. Aunt Sherry has had a couple conversations with him already.

There was, of course, all kinds of silliness and harassment and revelry. And we all agreed that next time we'd have to do it on a Saturday and make it a slumber party. Whose house it will be at remains to be seen...

I almost always come away from family get-togethers on a high. Such gatherings are a great reminder of how much we all have in common and how much fun we have when we're together. Don't get me wrong - we have a lot of differences, and each of us in each generation have chosen quite different paths for our lives. But the fact remains - we are definitely family. We have similar senses of humor. We're all smart. We all have artistic streaks (some certainly have more talent than others), though we choose all different media to express those streaks. Most of us have a little OCD. We're fiercely loyal.

So out of that loyalty, I felt compelled to vocalize my unconditional love for my family. I have their backs and I know they have mine. It's nice to know that no matter what twists and turns my life takes, I will have them all there to support me in the end. Just as I will support each and every one of them, regardless of what path they choose and decisions they make.

To have a tight-knit (moderately crazy) family is definitely a gift from God.

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